Friday, 11 October 2019, 24:00 | midnight

#108: Ina Wudtke

Ina Wudtke’s work questions hegemonic political discourses. It strenghtens counter-discourses on themes such as gender, work and housing. At Videoart at Midnight Ina Wudtke presents a wide selection of videos spanning from A Portrait of the Artist as a Worker (RMX.) from 2006 to recent works, such as the ongoing series Agitkas (2017-2019).

A Portrait of the Artist as a Worker (RMX.), 2006, 11:00 min
In A Portrait of the Artist as a Worker (rmx.), Ina Wudtke performs a poetic essay by the Belgian philosopher and writer Dieter Lesage about her work. The essay deals in a both ironic and sympathising way with the multiple layers out of which artistic work nowadays often consists, as well as with the whole range of activities many artists perform, in order to make a living as an artist. The video uses joyful techniques from the DJ and MC world and features performances by Ina Wudtke aka DJ T-INA Darling, MC QUIO and singer Caro Leszcinski. A Portrait of the Artist as a Worker (rmx.) is a witty, clever and provocative plea for the (female) worker in the contemporary art world.

The Law, 2011, 04:55 min
This video shows Ina Wudtke’s participation as an artist in a parade against aggressive forms of gentrification in Berlin’s Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg areas. As DJ T-INA Darling, she impersonates a rich man, who buys old houses and kicks out their tenants, in order to turn them into profitable investments by heavy, upscale renovation. The song ‘The Law’, which is performed together with her DJ/MC crew Femmes with Fatal Breaks, is a poetic reflection on the struggle between real estate investors and artists, represented by QUIO, who get chased out of central metropolitan neighborhoods after having contributed substantially to their hipness and thus to their market value.

Swing Lesson, 2013, 09:29 min
Swing Lesson refers to Adrian Piper’s Funk Lessons. For Swing Lesson dancer Sophie Monheim was invited to create a lindy hop choreography for the electronic swing song The Fine Art of Living. At the famous Berlin Ballroom Clärchens Ballhaus Monheim teaches this choreography to the audience. In the electro swing tune The Fine Art of Living, Wudtke is singing about gentrification in Berlin. Dance becomes a tool for a collective action against gentrification.

The Insurrection Will Not Be Tweeted, 2018, 10:54 min
In 2016 a youtube video, shared a million times, showed a Syrian refugee, who sung a song upon his arrival on the shore of a Greek island, whereas a friend, circling around him, filmed him with his smartphone. Is it possible to “share” images and music, without appropriating them? Is it enough for us to “like” something? To these questions, the video tries to give an artistic answer, featuring Ina Wudtke’s performance of an update of Gil Scott-Heron’s famous poem.

Das Lebende Bild, 2016, 01:25 min
During the Weimar Republic communist agit prop groups turned the formerly bourgeois practice of performing “tableaux vivants” into a tool for protest and direct action. „Das Lebende Bild“ (The living image) is a re-enactment of a historic living image originally performed by communist activists in Emden on January 13, 1930 in the assembly hall of the Loyd Hotel. This specific act is documented in court files reporting an interruption of an NSDAP meeting by communists performing a living image on stage.

Das Lied des Schiffsjungen, 2018, 06:22 min
„Das Lied des Schiffsjungen“ (The Song of the Deck Boy) was the only text by the Berlin communist worker writer Margarete Steffin (1908-1941) which was published during her life time. The video „Lied des Schiffsjungen“ (2018) shows Berlin pianist Andrej Hermlin and his son, singer David Hermlin performing their own version of the unpublished composition by Hanns Eisler for Margarete Steffin’s lyrics. Many people are still not aware that Steffin is the co-author of Bertolt Brecht’s most famous anti-fascist works in exile: Mother Courage and her Children, The good Person of Szechwan, Life of Galileo, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich and The resistable Rise of Arturo Ui.

Willi Bredel, 2018, 04:33 min
As part of her research on the tradition of worker writers, Ina Wudtke produced the video “Willi Bredel“. Hamburg based rapper Captain Gips plays the German metal worker and turner Willi Bredel (1901 Hamburg – 1964 Berlin East), one of the best known communist worker writers of his time, whose books were translated into 17 languages. His autobiographical book Die Prüfung (The Ordeal) from 1934 was the first written document about a concentration camp.

Agitkas, 2017-2019 (ongoing), 08:55 min
Based on her research on original poems, songs and plays of communist worker writers of the Weimar Republic, Ina Wudtke wrote her own short agitation texts on housing. In the ongoing series Agitkas, of which five videos have been realised, these texts are performed by various speaking choirs in front of real estate in Berlin’s urban space.

Ina Wudtke (born 1968) studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg. She lives and works in Berlin since 1998. From 1992 until 2004, she edited the queer-feminist artist magazine NEID. In 2011, she released a conceptual album on gentrification entitled ‘The Fine Art of Living’ under her pseudonym T-INA Darling. With Belgian philosopher Dieter Lesage, she wrote the book Black Sound White Cube (Vienna, Loecker, 2010). The book The Fine Art of Living (Berlin, Archive Books, 2018) documents a decade of her artistic work on the housing question.

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