Program & Archive

Still from ‘Whiteface‘, 2022, Dual-channel video installation, colour, loop, Duration: 35 minutes, 23 seconds. Commissioned by the Museum Folkwang with support from the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
Still from ‘Whiteface‘, 2022, Dual-channel video installation, colour, loop, Duration: 35 minutes, 23 seconds. Commissioned by the Museum Folkwang with support from the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

Being Wrong

Annual theme of artsprogram and the Center for Cultural Production 

Fear, resentment, and disgust are the negative emotions from which populist ideologies and authoritarianism emerge, as sociologist Eva Illouz argues in her recent book "Undemocratic Emotions." Particularly in the era of burgeoning right-wing populist movements, it is increasingly evident that these pathological feelings are not exterior to democracies. Instead, they permeate socially mobile contemporary democracies, eroding them from within. These sentiments thrive on the perceived loss of privileges and the specter of social decline. They shape individual identities and fabricated communities that derive claims of possession and perceived exceptional rights to specific social spheres and lifestyles from these adverse emotions—an occurrence philosopher Eva von Redecker terms "phantom posession" (Phantombesitz).

Consequently, could social mobility and the pledge of upward progression signify the systemic flaws within Western democracies? Are they responsible for the social dysfunction emerging ever more prominently in the current historical framework across Europe and America? How do assurances of advancement, neo-authoritarianism, notions of property entitlement, racism, and sexism interconnect? Under the thematic banner "Being Wrong," the artsprogram examines these questions alongside artist Candice Breitz, philosopher Eva von Redecker and sociologist Eva Illouz.

This will unfold through four distinct formats. At the core stands the exhibition "Whiteface," on view as of September 2023 in the "White Box," the artsprogram’s exhibition and project space. In this work, the artist confronts herself and her viewers with perspectives of white people on whiteness, as well as with a bizarre re-enactment of fragments of debates and patterns of arguments about racism and white privileges, as they circulate in the media and there reproduce more or less hidden racist stereotypes and spread resentments.

The exhibition will be complemented by a study group where students and instructors will analyze the role of art in the tension between critiquing privilege and promoting solidarity-driven involvement. On October 31, ZU professors Eva Illouz and Simon Koschut will engage in a public panel discussion concerning the emotional grammar and emotional politics within right-wing populist movements. The experimental symposium “Fear, Resentement, Division” on November 30 and December 1, 2023, will bring together philosopher Eva von Redecker, artist Candice Breitz, and other guests from academia, art, and pedagogy. They will explore collectively the connections between fear of decline and the loss of the future, resentment, radicalization, and phantasmatic notions of possession.

Further Events

‘Whiteface‘ by Candice Breitz

16.09.2023 | 17:00

Opening and Introduction by Rahel Spöhrer and Karen van den Berg

White Box, ZF-Campus of ZU

Then opened


Tue-Thu 10.00-17.00

White Box, ZF-Campus of ZU

Further information 

The emotional life of populism - German and Israeli perspective

31.10.2023 | 19:30

Panel discussion Eva Illouz and Simon Koschut

Graf von Soden Forum, ZF-Campus of ZU

Further Information

Angst, Ressentiment, Spaltung


A symposium with Candice Breitz, Eva von Redecker and other academic and artistic contributions. Co-curated by students from Zeppelin University

ZF-Campus of ZU

Further Information

Time to decide

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