On Display: The Aesthetics of Resistance


An evening on reading Peter Weiss

Date: Tuesday 10th November 7pm-9pm
Place: Professor Stuart Hall Building LG2
Goldsmiths, University of London

Screening of Harun Farocki’s film “On Display: Peter Weiss/Zur Ansicht: Peter Weiss”. Readings from “The Aesthetics of Resistance” and letters between Farocki and Weiss.

Special guest artist Karen Mirza who set up a London based reading group in 2010 and Edgar Schmitz (Department of Art, Goldsmiths).

Please join us for an evening on Peter Weiss’ seminal novel “The Aesthetics of Resistance” hosted by Claudia Firth (Birkbeck) and Achim Lengerer (Goldsmiths) who are currently researching Peter Weiss reading groups in East – and West Germany during the 1970s/1980s. They want to consider the collective process of reading Weiss within general questions of (workers) education and self-organised learning outside of institutional frameworks. The evening will include the first UK screening (English subtitles) of Harun Farocki’s 1981 film “On Display: Peter Weiss (Zur Ansicht: Peter Weiss)”. Farocki’s film is an interview with Weiss about the writing process of “The Aesthetics of Resistance” (1975-1981), an anti-fascist historical novel that follows a small group of young working class students as they visit museums, discuss art and political history and fight in the Spanish Civil War and the resistance to Nazism. The main premise of the book is that through self-learning the affinity between political resistance and art might be explored. The book itself also presents an opportunity for self-organized learning and has engendered a plethora of reading groups organized around it.

Special thanks to Antje Ehmann for the screening rights of Harun Farocki’s film.

Peter Weiss (1916 – 1982) was a German writer and experimental filmmaker of adopted Swedish nationality. He is particularly known for his plays Marat/Sade and The Investigation and his novel The Aesthetics of Resistance.

Harun Farocki ( 1944 – 2014) was a German filmmaker, author and lecturer in film. From the 1960s onwards, Farocki brought Weiss’ filmic work to public attention in Germany. He is also the author of an edition of the German magazine “Filmkritik” in 1981, devoted to Weiss’ films.

Karen Mirza has col­la­bo­ra­ted with Brad But­ler since 1998, and in 2004 for­med no. w. here (www. no-w-here. org. uk), an ar­tist-run space for the pro­duc­tion, dis­cus­sion and dis­se­mi­na­ti­on of prac­tices en­ga­ged with the mo­ving image, po­li­tics, tech­no­lo­gy and aes­t­he­tics. no. w. here’s role as a co­ope­ra­ti­ve en­vi­ron­ment is di­rect­ly re­la­ted to the cen­te­ring of Mirza and But­ler’s own prac­tice upon col­la­bo­ra­ti­on, dia­lo­gue and the so­ci­al. Since 2007 they have pur­sued a strain of prac­tice en­t­it­led The Mu­se­um of Non Par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on (www.museumofnonparticipation.org).