Bossing Images
The Power of Images, Queer Art, and Politics

Series of Events

Bossing Images began in 2012 as a project of the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst NGBK Berlin, organized by Antke Engel and Jess Dorrance in cooperation with Renate Lorenz. It now travels around to different places and venues (Stockholm 2013, Freiburg 2014, Zürich 2015).

Bossing Images. The Power of Images, Queer Art, and Politics

The relationship between images and their audiences is often a little bit bossy. Subjects boss images around to serve their ideological goals. Images boss subjects around, for instance by suggesting they conform to heteronormative ideals. The same can be said about the production process: In cultural practices and art making, producers co-opt images, but images may also capture the producer and make them subject themselves. Through mutual desire, images and subjects engage in illicit transgressions of their hierarchized relationships.

Focusing specifically on images that engage with ambiguous genders, queer desires, freaky bodies, and the puncturing of other intersecting normative imaginaries, this series of four public events will examine the social field of images, artists, audiences, critics, and curators. At each event, people and images will be invited to take on these roles (of “the artist” or “the audience”)—as well as to challenge them—in an attempt to explore how this field is structured by bossiness. This bossiness is hierarchical, saturated by power and desire, and always includes moments of failure. As with any “work relationship,” bosses can never fully control their employees—there are always paths for subversion and wasting company time.

Through experimenting with how these various agents work together, we are interested in challenging the role that curation plays in bossing images. We wish to develop curatorial formats that could trigger more nuanced considerations of bossiness in visual discourses and the structures that surround them. By invoking the term “bossing,” we especially want to highlight the question of the power relations in visual production and consumption and their variability. This includes facing other valences of bossiness, such as BDSM practices, economic structures, or the disciplining of bodies.

Moreover, we want to reflect upon how images that seek to transmute or undermine normality are now both celebrated and reviled in the mainstream, embraced as ideals on the one hand and as representations of the devalued on the other. How are these contradictory developments taken up in contemporary visual production? What do queer-feminist interventions have to say about this?

2012 – Bossing Images 1-4, NGBK Berlin


23.01.2012, NGBK Berlin
Gäste: Sharon Hayes Installation I March In The Parade of Liberty But As Long As I Love You I’m Not Free (2007/08), Danica Dakić (Düsseldorf) und Clarissa Thieme (Berlin).

In welcher Maskierung gewinnen Öffentlichkeiten Macht? Welche Bilder können gehört, welche Sprache kann sichtbar werden? > mehr


26.03.2012, NGBK Berlin

Gäste: Helen Chadwicks S-8 Dokumentation einer Performance Domestic Sanitation (1976), Renate Lorenz (Berlin) und Sandra Ortmann (Berlin).

Durchziehen Machtkämpfe jegliche Zusammenarbeit? Steckt dies die Bilder an, mit denen gearbeitet wird? Verleiten sie zur Zusammenarbeit? Und verbreiten dann ihrerseits den Virus der Kollaboration? > mehr


04.05.2012, NGBK Berlin

Gäste: Elodie Pongs Video Je Suis Une Bombe (2006), Jakob Lena Knebl (Wien) und Tim Stüttgen (Berlin), special guest: Hans A. Scheirl (Wien).

Sind Körper Spielplätze der Bilder? Oder ihre Transportmittel?
Wie werden Körper ek-statisch? Wie durchkreuzen sie die Felder der Macht?
> mehr


01.06.2012, NGBK Berlin

Gäste: Arbeiten auf Papier von Laylah Ali (Williamstown, MA), Nana Adusei-Poku (Berlin) und Coco Fusco (New York).

Welche Linien sind es, die keine Grenze ziehen? Wie gelingt es, dass sie das Zentrum verschieben oder auflösen? > mehr

2013 – Bossing Images 5, Iaspis Stockholm


19.06.2013, Iaspis, Stockholm/Schweden

Gäste: Tejal Shah’s film Between the Waves (2012), Wu Tsang (Los Angeles), Andrea Thal (Zürich).

Was heißt es, wenn formale Prozeduren intim werden? Wie hängt der Austausch von Körpern und Materialen zwischen dem globalen Süden und dem globalen Norden mit Prozeduren der Rassisierung oder Sexualisierung zusammen? > mehr

2014 – Bossing Images 6, Art Affects Freiburg


15.02.2014, Art Affects Festival, Freiburg im Breisgau

Gäste: Toxic (2012, Super 16mm/HD) von Pauline Boudry und Renate Lorenz, Mel Y. Chen (Berkeley), Bernadett Settele (Zürich).

Giftig werden? Als Gift bezeichnet werden? Vergiftet leben? > mehr

2016 – Bossing Images 7, Agora Rollberg, Berlin


July 14, 2016 Agora Rollberg, Berlin-Neukölln

Guests*: Speaking Laughter (2016, Audio Installation) by Susan Silton, Renate Lorenz together with N.0. Body (2008, 16mm/DVD, 15 min, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz), and performing live: Ismael Ogando and Werner Hirsch

The paradox of laughter: enforcing norms and subverting norms. How can laughter interrupt and transform violent social processes? When does queer laughter turn into resistance? When does it per/form new socialities? What happens to our bodies when we are laughing? > more

see also:
Bossing Images book
Bossing Images blog