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2009 – The Blind Spot Is the Most Recent Past

Part 2: Reality is the Future of the Past

Wednesday, June 05, 2019, 19:00

Program series curated by students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna together with Diedrich Diederichsen

An exploration and diagnosis of the present are usually understood particularly in the context of art as a future-looking inventory of the here and now. Art history traditionally accepts no objects that are younger than fifty years old. This means that there is a dark spot between 1969 and 2019, which is subjected to no academic enquiry, in particular as the fashions of retro and nostalgia generally only appropriate what is exactly twenty years old (and older periods: the psychedelic 1960s or the leaden and colorful 1970s have already seen several cycles). One of the problems of our approach to time is that projects that have just begun but are only promising long term are abandoned and forgotten, and with this we also lose an awareness of what needs to be done politically and socially. Looking back ten years: what do we know of that today, how did it go on, and is there an archive? 2009 was marked by the financial crisis and a corresponding new and fundamental critique of capitalism, and what remains of that? And: the first Afro-American president took up office. This program wishes to mediate between historical and present knowledge, especially in reference to duration, processes, and successes—as categories of political and project-based thinking.

Part 2: Reality is the Future of the Past

By showing these two films together, we focus on 2009 as a year that stands for the far-reaching consequences of the financial crisis. Each filmmaker undertakes a journey searching for clues and signs of predominant social and political malfunctioning. While the French author and director Virginie Despentes takes a trip from the West to East Coast of the USA for Mutantes, interviewing women on the status quo of feminism and sex work, Chinese filmmaker Huang Weikai explores in Disorder his own country (more precisely, in the city of Guangzhou), finding amateur video material that he brings together in a portrait of a contemporary society undergoing urbanization. Comparable approaches result in two completely different film aesthetics and unconventional social portraits of two of the world’s strongest nations and economies.


Virginie Despentes, Mutantes, 2009, 91 min
Huang Weikai, Disorder (Xianshi Shi Guoqu de Weilai), 2009, 58 min

Curated and presented by June Drevet, Florian Hofer, and Valentina Triet

Diedrich Diederichsen teaches Theory, Practice, and Communication of Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Most recent publications: Körpertreffer: Zur Ästhetik der nachpopulären Künste, Berlin 2017; Über Pop-Musik, Cologne 2014. Lives in Ottakring and Schöneberg.

This program series accompanies the class 2009 – Ten Years Ago taught by Diedrich Diederichsen at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.


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