“Lost in the system” – a poster.


““lost in the system”.”
“If you have to complain because of failed processes, you have to enter yet more failed processes.“
(Ahmed 2021, p. 96)

A complaint can often end up leaving you even more deeply under the influence of the organization because what you need to survive organizations can be what they can provide. 
(Ahmed 2021, p. 99)

“The consequences of rubbish systems for keeping track of things are very different depending on who or what is being tracked. Strategic inefficiency can be how some disappearances are not counted by being deemed “lost in the system.” If you have to complain because of failed processes, you have to enter yet more failed processes.” (Ahmed 2021, p. 96).

The previous piece was taken from chapter 2 “ON BEING STOPPED” of the book Complaint! by Sarah Ahmed, and those specific words were the inspiration to make  this A1 poster, which’s aim is to criticize the way in which the process to make a complaint turns into due to the incompetency and neglect of the systems we have to deal with.

A paper bin was chosen to simulate the system itself or more specifically, the place where complaints are supposed to end up at. A spacious, “transparent” container in which more complaints can come into: “there is space for everyone”. The paper balls are of course the complaints of each individual, but they are obviously treated as trash, wrapped up and thrown among other garbage. And here I want to connote that often complaints are not even filed or archived to be proceed in even far futures… they are just treated as trash.

“A complaint can often end up leaving you even more deeply under the influence of the organization because what you need to survive organizations can be what they can provide.” (Ahmed 2021, p. 99). This phrase appears at the end of the poster to point out that your complaint can end up really under many other (not necessarily more important) processes, because normally these institutions have no interest on helping, guiding, whatsoever providing you a solution, regarding your complaints on their behaviours or proceedings. 


“On being stopped” – a 7 A4 posters serie.

Through the reading of chapter two of the book “Complaint!” by Sarah Ahmed I affirmed many of the thoughts that come into my mind when questioning myself on how societies work and are built up. Some of these are often related to the abuse of man-power in different institutions which was the common denominator in many of the experiences of neglect towards complaints reported by the author on this occasion.

As I saw myself once again in positions of many of the women of these stories I felt that there has to be something so rotten and unviable and disgusting in our society to keep being this much of conformists and keep allowing injustices in any space, not just in big scenarios such as institutions, universities, but also between relationships, from any type; on how reduced we can feel ourselves when we make a complaint and not being able to see how basic it is to ask for respect.

I highlighted some phrases/quotes that I liked from this chapter and tried to make something out of it. As I study Visual Communication and graphic / typographical poster design happen to be one of my passions I designed a 7 A4 posters serie. Each poster contains a quote I chose. 

1. PWBP / IWBI. 2021. Parra
“procedures will be procedures! 
institutions will be institutions!” 
(Ahmed 2021, p. 73)

This two phrases are the clear example of what conformism sounds like to me. And while doing a complaint many doubts can come on the way that finally may lead to conformism. The action of standing in the same point without having any expectation on the result, which is, in other words, ”being stopped” – the title of chapter 2.

“Evidence of the difficulty of a process can also be used to try to stop someone from entering that process.”
(Ahmed 2021, p. 75)

Ahmed offers these words by pointing that warnings often frighted people, and fear is also a mean of control. Really powerful I may say. When you have to face a process but previously see how tedious it is going to be, you just want to give up.

3. SOMETHING. 2021. Parra
“You can stop people from doing something by making it harder for them to do something.”
(Ahmed 2021, p. 78)

This quote perfectly fits with the previous one. 

While you recognize blockages, burdens, doubts and lack of companionship during a process, there is no reason left to pursue it, no matter how significant and dignifying it may be, the future and end do not seem to be prosper.

4. CONTAMINATION. 2021. Parra
“A complaint can be deemed dangerous because it can contaminate those who touch it.”
(Ahmed 2021, p. 82)

When a complaint involves various parties in a previously corrupted environment, it just does not put anyone in a fructose position because maybe many hidden and past situations may come to light through the process and can condemn the involved ones into new / not-so-convinient situations.

5. EXPLOSION. 2021. Parra
“You let a complaint be expressed to avoid an explosion.”
(Ahmed 2021, p. 84)

Sarah Ahmed mentioned this phrase to point out the perspective that a complaint often has a role of a valve that lets something scape to the air and then it just suddenly disappears, by avoiding an inner explosion.

I partially disagree in this case because I consider that a complaint can potentially cause an explosion if it is managed in the desired way. To make clear my point I am going to use an example: my boss has sexually harassed me. I proceed to make a complaint and it is utopically taken into account. My complaint is studied and proven. He gets fired and everyone gets notified the reason why. More people at my same job start reporting and exposing other sexual abuses in our field. The bomb now has exploded. My complaint was taken into account and has led to more people make their own complaints.

6. SHOUTING. 2021. Parra
“If you have to shout because you are not heard, you are heard as shouting. If you are heard as shouting, you are not heard.”
(Ahmed 2021, p. 89)

In my perception, there shouldn’t be a need to shout in the first place, but of course as some are in higher positions, the ones in the bottom are hard to be heard. Everyone should be heard at any context. Here it is possible to recognize how inequalities cause so many gaps, also seen throughout the spacing of the words in the poster. 

7. RESISTANCE. 2021. Parra
You can encounter resistance in the slowness of an uptake.
(Ahmed 2021, p. 92)

Ahmed makes this appreciation by comparing the process of doing a complaint with a wall. When there is a blockage, when something needs to be stopped. However, this does not mean that it is the end, one must wait to the the outcome of this difficult processes. And finally I interpret this sentence as the author wanting to say that resistance comes not by tearing the wall down, but thought the capacity of keeping on track without giving up.

basic book

Keep a stiff upper lip (Introduction )

“Don’t whine, don’t let “them” ever see you cry.
Stop complaining.
No one cares.
Don’t be a baby.
Are you going to cry like a girl?
Asians (enter choice of identities here) don’t whine.
When the going gets tough get going!”

Fold your lips. Close your mouth. Shut up.
Shut your eyes.

These statements, uttered so casually, often and devastatingly underlie the societal norm throughout the (Anglo Saxon) world that complaining, of any sort is, UnAmerican, UnEnglish, unbecoming, weak and simply to be avoided. The phrase “keep a stiff upper lip” (as lip trembling often signals fear, or the onset of tears) is often used in British culture in order to remind those who might (horrors) show emotion that the desired behavior is quite the opposite, to keep going in the face of adversity. Socially sanctioned repression, disguised as moral and personal virtue, that actually serves to uphold and maintain unequal treatment and structures of power.

This is particularly so for people treated unequally – Asians in the quote above from Ahmed, women generally as evident in the sexist language the admonishments against complaint are often couched in, LGBTQIA+ people, who are often mocked in heteromisic ‘comedy’ as limp wristed whiners and Black cis men and boys, for whom complaining can be literally physically dangerous, both at home and even more so in society at large. When people complain about racism, sexism and homomisia, all too often the complaint itself becomes the issue – even within these communities themselves, all too often the response is for people to ignore injustice and just buckle down and work harder in the hopes of eventual (or spiritual) justice and acceptance.

As journalist Additi Murti noted in an article “Stoicism Has Become a Masculine Ideal That Values Repression, Indifference. What Could Go Wrong?” published on Swaddle last year – this is a dangerous distortion of Stoicism itself, which was concerned with both the common good, care for the community and even had elements of precursors to feminism – and transformed it into at best, the veneration of uncomplaining workers in the quest for capitalist production (to what end?) and at its worst, “a philosophical foundation for men’s rights nonsense … military training and aggression.” (note that Murti found judged the “worst” outcome to be militarization and aggression and I have conflated both in this slightly misleading ellipsis above).

This rambling soliloquy (because what is a blog post if not a monologue to yourself) full of run-on-sentences, nested quotes and departures from the text of our actual book, represents both my lived experience and personal, unacademic response to reading the introduction, as nearly every paragraph sparked a visceral connection to the challenges in both the process of complaining and the assaults on the integrity and personhood of the ‘complainer’. I could have written 12 blog posts, with varying degrees of personal, emotional reactions or academic bona fides, but it seemed most important to go back to the beginning, the basics as it were and assert my (yours, our) right to complain, the very real prevalence of beliefs negating complaint itself and affirm the importance of doing so… as a way to begin so to speak.


Reflection of minding the gap.

Sara Ahmed’s book “Complaint!”’s first chapter “Mind the Gap! Policies, Procedures, and Other Nonperformatives” relies and focuses in the concerns Ahmed has encountered with institutional processes while making a complaint. At the same time the author points out the position in which the complainers see themselves involved in during this processes, and how tedious they are, because at the end it just seems that systems and institutions create and establish procedures for anything but complaining. Parallel, some testimonies of failed complaints are described to enrich the discussion on how policies do not benefit those who they should benefit.

While reading the first chapter of “Complaint!”, and punctually having the chance to get to know various stories from different people and complaints they have made in past opportunities, I would just kept thinking on the times I have made complaints, also the times there was a reason no matter how small to make a complaint and I doubted making it, or even the multiple times I have bypassed the chance to make a complaint just because of my non-intentional ignorance. 

I also feel like sometimes the “strategic inefficiency” (Ahmed 2021, p. 28) is so evident, and clear, and irrefutable that we tend to avoid the burden of starting a process which’s journey does not promise any benefit or which’s end won’t come any easy.

As an immigrant-student I can say that this experience will mostly lead to situations in which one can get lost easily between mountains of papers and tons of extended words, that at the end blurres the exquisiteness of getting into a new culture and challenging itself into the wildness of being valued, while coming from a country which historically has be minoritized.

Even when my experience with bureaucracy in Germany (compared to other immigrants’ I know), can be categorised from 1 to 5 being 5 good and 1 bad as a 5, I can say firsthand that it is overwhelming. To this, let’s add that in any personal/bureaucratic/administrative process communication is the basis, and if one of the parties has difficulty with the language, for example, that prevails in that situation, the ball is now in the opponent’s court. Therefore when language is a barrier and you find yourself in a vulnerable position, it would be very audacious of me to make a complaint. Right?

Am i allowed to complain if I am not German? Do I have the same rights? And if so, am i allowed to make it with my broken German? Are they even going to understand me?

Such questions cross the minds of many of us, so I pretty much identify myself with the situations Ahmed described in this opportunity. A complaint is a messy process, not just because the ending will always seem unreachable, but also because –“Even if you can use a policy as evidence to support a complaint, it does not guarantee you will succeed.” – (Ahmed 2021, p. 43)

Complaints compromise rights and legal processes, but also empathy and emotions in my point of view. “Complaints are personal as well as institutional.” – (Ahmed 2021, p. 38).

As appears in page 48 “You swallow it”. Those single three words describe the need to end something and not even give it a chance to be digested. Often we see injustices and we just have to get along with them, how? Easy. By swallowing them. But when you swallow you don’t disintegrate each part, nutrient, benefit of it. You take the life out of it. And that is mostly how it feels to be part of a minority in such a powerful environment. It just takes the life out of you.

As a future visual communicator I identify the importance to show emotions and experiences  in a more graphic way when language and culture are obstacles. For this purpose, I have decided to accompany this reflection and the feeling left by reading the first chapter “Mind the Gap! Policies, Procedures, and Other Nonperformatives” with two photographic representations of how the process to make a complaint doesn’t looks but feels like.

Foto 1. “Process to make a complaint”. 2021. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license
Foto 2. “Process to make a complaint 2.0”. 2021. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license

art basic book general

Making the unnoticed visible. Rachel Whiteread’s “Double-Doors” on the cover of Sara Ahmed’s “Complaint!”

The cover of the publication “Complaint!” by Sara Ahmed (2021) shows an exhibition photograph of the installation “Double-Doors II, A+B”, 2006/2007 by Rachel Whiteread. In this photographed “room”, “Sara Ahmed” is set above the doors in cream-coloured capital letters and in 2D. The photograph is surrounded by a frame, also cream-coloured, in the lower part of which the title of the book and a quotation from Angela Davis are set in black letters and the same typography as above.

The “Double-Doors” are the focus of attention; in contrast to the entire publication, including its illustrations in the interior section in black and white, the cover and thus also the photograph of the doors is printed in grey-white-black-toned colours. This colour printing is reminiscent of a griseille technique or also of monochrome colour field paintings, they rely on a strong shadow effect in their effects, were used in different centuries and for different genres: Griseille for medieval panel/ancient paintings or also stained glass in churches and monasteries, monochrome (here in greyscale) can find its application in all fields (advertising, photography, design, interior/architecture) and was a preferred format in modernism. The colour-field paintings were often large-format, to the point of colour uniformity, and were often painted by male painters.

Here now are Whiteread’s double doors, two quite obviously unrelated, different door variants. The reference to Whiteread is noted on the back of the cover, so that Whiteread’s name does not compete with Ahmed’s name, and so it is not immediately apparent to quick readers or readers unfamiliar with art that the cover design is an illustration of an artistic sculpture.

Whiteread’s artistic strategy essentially focuses on transforming everyday objects such as mattresses, boxes, hot-water bottles, but also staircases and entire houses, and even doors, into sculptural negative forms made of resin, rubber, concrete or plaster, sometimes even taking another replica from the replica. In this way, the cavities hidden in the objects take shape and, in particular, the surfaces, their wounds, scratches and wear and tear are materialised. With this negative replica process (also referred to as mummification in theoretical reception), the 1993 Turner Prize winner transforms the previous voids that existed in familiar routines but were not recognisable, the seemingly absent, into a volume that can now in turn attract attention like a crime scene and evoke new themes and interpretations. These can be memories, pasts, nostalgias, pains, obsessions, pathologies, etc. The previously unseen becomes imaginable and visible through a minimalist process of abstraction and materialisation, especially the traces of use on the surfaces become recognisable, documented and archived and can be interpreted by the recipients in a personal process of reception. Whiteread herself speaks of the entrails she is interested in, entrails that no one has seen before and now become sculptural.

Ahmed is also interested in previous emptiness, the previously unsaid and unobserved, which is now to find presence. She dissects the “entrails”, the inner life – of complaint operations: What takes place, where and by whom, with whom, what is enforceable, what is prevented? And she is interested in the traces that arise and remain, the pain, injuries and scars that are documented and archived as possibly traumatised psyches, as in Whiteread’s sculptures. Both colleagues focus their attention on doors. While Whiteread seems to be interested not only in the topos but also in the formal as sculptural questions, perhaps also in psychological and physical similarities to the users, Ahmed emphasises both their metaphorical and operational dimension with the doors: doors must be opened in order to make and enforce complaints, complaints are made behind closed doors, doors are closed for those who complain or are closed:

„Doors can tell us something not only about who can get in but who can get by or who can get through. After all, when a path is no longer available to us, a door becomes a figure of speech: we say that door is closed. A women of colour academic described her department as a revolving door, “women and minorities” enter, only to head right out again: whoosh, whoosh.“ Source:

„Note then: power can work through what might seem a light touch: all you need to do to close a door on someone is to write them a less positive reference. This means that: the actions that close doors are not always perceptible to others. A closed door can itself be imperceptible; we can think back to the how diversity is figured as an open door; come in, come in; as if there is nothing stopping anyone from getting in or getting through. Or it might be that the effects of the actions are perceptible but the actions are not: so when someone is stopped, it seems they stopped themselves.“ Source:

The fact that Whiteread’s exhibition photograph of the door installation has now just been put on the cover of Ahmed’s book in greyscale colours certainly has something to do with the source photograph. Whiteread’s material, both the sculptures and installations and the exhibition photographs, not infrequently turn out in this colour scheme. But with the decision to design the cover in this way and exactly this way, next semantic levels merge with each other: it is about the “entrails”, which can now already be more precisely designated in the application of the technique of griseille or monochrome. For these artistic techniques reference specific places (churches, monasteries), times (modernity) and practitioners of these techniques (male artist colleagues) and can thus determine very precise structural and cultural techniques and framework conditions. The use of griseille and monochrome thus makes a meta-commentary on the subject: Attention, the cover seems to announce, we are located with the now following contents between the book covers in toxic, ideological, (quasi-)religious, traumatic, maltreating, in effective contexts of meaning of patriarchally effective structures and cultures.

This is also the context in which the quote from Angela Davis, the ancestor of the US civil rights movement and feminism, chosen for the cover design, is to be understood:  “Complaint! is precisely the text we need at this moment.“ Like Whiteread’s artistic strategy of transforming negative forms into positive forms or recognising the positive in the negative replica – for example, the doorknob in the hole – this is precisely what is envisaged for Ahmed’s book; the use of plaster for the materialisation of the absent, which is used as a healing material in medicine, points in the direction of the concern presented here.

art basic book general

Das Nichtbemerkte sichtbar machen. Rachel Whitereads „Double-Doors“ auf dem Cover von Sara Ahmeds „Complaint!“

Das Cover der Publikation „Complaint!“ von Sara Ahmed (2021) zeigt eine Ausstellungsfotografie der Installation „Double-Doors II, A+B“, 2006/2007 von Rachel Whiteread. In diesen fotografierten „Raum“ ist oberhalb der Türen in cremefarbenen Großbuchstaben und in 2D „Sara Ahmed“ gesetzt. Die Fotografie ist von einem ebenfalls cremefarbenen Rahmen umgeben, in dem unteren Teil des Rahmen ist der Titel des Buches und ein Zitat von Angela Davis in schwarzen Schrift und der gleichen Typografie wie oben gesetzt.

Im Zentrum des Blicks stehen die „Double-Doors“, im Unterschied zu der gesamten Publikation einschließlich ihrer Abbildungen im Innenteil in Schwarz-Weiß ist der Einband und damit auch die Fotografie der Türen in Grau-Weiß-Scharz-getönten Farben gedruckt. Dieser Farbdruck erinnert an eine Griseille-Technik oder auch an monochrome Farbfeldmalereien, sie setzen in ihren Effekten auf eine starke Schattenwirkung, wurden in verschiedenen Jahrhunderten und für verschiedene Genre eingesetzt: Griseille für mittelalterliche Tafel-/Altarmalereien oder auch Glasmalereien in Kirchen und Klöstern, Monochromie (hier in Graustufen) findet in allen Bereichen ihre Anwendung (Werbung, Fotografie, Design, Innen-/Architektur) und war ein bevorzugtes Format in der Moderne. Die Farbfeldmalereien waren oft großformatig, bis hin zur Farbengleichheit und wurden oft von männlichen Malern gemalt.

Hier nun Whitereads Doppel-Türen, zwei ganz offensichtlich nicht zusammen gehörende, unterschiedliche Türvarianten. Die Referenz auf Whiteread ist auf der Rückseite des Einbandes notiert, so dass Whitereads Name nicht in Konkurrenz zu Ahmeds Namen tritt und damit für schnelle oder kunstunwissende Leser*innen auch nicht gleich erkenntbar ist, dass es sich bei der Einbandgestaltung um die Abbildung einer künstlerischen Plastik handelt.

Whitereads künstlerische Strategie konzentriert sich im Wesentlichen darauf, Alltagsgegenstände wie zum Beispiel Matratzen, Schachteln, Wärmflaschen, aber auch Treppen und ganzen Häuser, und eben auch Türen in skulpturale Negativformen aus Harz, Gummi, Beton oder Gips zu überführen, manchmal auch vom Abdruck einen nächsten Abdruck zu nehmen. Über diesen Weg nehmen die Hohlräume, die sich in den Gegenständen verbergen, Gestalt an und werden insbesondere die Oberflächen, ihre Wunden, Kratzer und Abnutzungen materialisiert. Mit diesem Negativabgussverfahren (in der Theorierezeption auch als Mumifizierung bezeichnet) verwandelt die Turner-Preisträgerin von 1993 die vorherigen, in den vertrauten Routinen zwar vorhandenen, aber nicht erkennbaren Leeren, das scheinbar Absente in ein Volumen, das nun seinerseits wie ein Tatort Aufmerksamkeit finden kann und neue Themen und Be-/Deutungen evoziert. Hierbei kann es sich etwa um Erinnerungen, Vergangenheiten, Nostalgien, Schmerzen, Obzessionen, Pathologien etc. handeln. Das zuvor Nichtgesehene wird durch einen minimalistischen Abstrahierungs- und Materialisierungsvorgang vorstell- und sichtbar, insbesondere die Gebrauchsspuren auf den Oberflächen werden erkennbar, dokumentiert und archiviert und können von den Rezipient*innen in einem persönlichen Rezeptionsprozess be-/deutet werden. Whiteread selbst spricht von den Eingeweiden, die sie interessiert, Eingeweide, die zuvor niemand zu Gesicht bekommen hat und nun skulptural werden.

Auch Ahmed interessiert sich für bisherigen Leeren, das bisher Ungesagte und Unbeobachtete, das nun zur Präsenz finden soll. Sie seziert die „Eingeweide“, das Innenleben – und zwar von Beschwerdeoperationen: Was findet hier wo und durch wen, bei wem statt, was ist durchsetzbar, was wird unterbunden? Und sie interessiert die Spuren, die entstehen und zurückbleiben, die Schmerzen, Verletzungen und Narben, die wie in Whitereads Plastiken als womöglich traumatisierte Psychen dokumentiert und archiviert werden. Beide Kolleginnen richten dabei ihr Augenmerk auf Türen. Während Whiteread neben dem Topos das Formale als skulpturale Fragen, vielleicht auch psychologische und körperliche Ähnlichkeiten zu den Benützerinnen zu interessieren scheinen, stellt Ahmed mit den Türen sowohl deren metaphorische als auch operative Dimension heraus: Türen müssen geöffnet werden, um Beschwerden anzubringen und durchzusetzen, Beschwerden werden hinter verschlossenen Türen vorgebracht, Türen sind für diejenigen, die sich beschwerden, verschlossen oder werden geschlossen:

„Türen können uns nicht nur etwas darüber sagen, wer eintreten kann, sondern auch, wer vorbeikommt oder wer durchkommen kann. Denn wenn uns ein Weg nicht mehr offen steht, wird eine Tür zu einer Redewendung: Wir sagen, dass die Tür geschlossen ist. Eine farbige Akademikerin beschrieb ihre Abteilung als eine Drehtür, durch die “Frauen und Minderheiten” eintreten, nur um gleich wieder hinauszugehen: wusch, wusch.“ Quelle:

„Beachten Sie also: Macht kann durch eine scheinbar leichte Berührung wirken: Alles, was Sie tun müssen, um jemandem eine Tür zu schließen, ist, ihm eine weniger positive Referenz zu schreiben. Das bedeutet, dass die Handlungen, die Türen schließen, für andere nicht immer wahrnehmbar sind. Eine geschlossene Tür kann selbst nicht wahrnehmbar sein; wir können uns daran erinnern, wie Vielfalt als offene Tür dargestellt wird; hereinspaziert, hereinspaziert; als ob es nichts gibt, was jemanden daran hindert, hereinzukommen oder durchzukommen. Oder es könnte sein, dass die Auswirkungen der Handlungen wahrnehmbar sind, die Handlungen selbst aber nicht: Wenn jemand aufgehalten wird, scheint es, als hätte er sich selbst aufgehalten.“ Quelle:

Dass Whitereads Ausstellungsfotografie der Tür-Installation nun gerade in Graustufenfarben auf das Cover von Ahmeds Buch gebracht wurde, hat sicher auch mit der Ausgangsfotografie zu tun. Whitereads Material, sowohl die Plastiken und Installationen als auch die Ausstellungsfotografien, fallen nicht selten in dieser Farbgebung aus. Aber mit der Entscheidung, den Einband so und genau so zu gestalten, verschmelzen nächste semantische Ebenen miteinander: Es geht um die „Eingeweide“, die in Anwendung der Technik der Griseille oder der Monochromie nun schon genauer bezeichnet werden können. Denn diese künstlerischen Techniken referenzieren bestimmte Orte (Kirchen, Klöster), Zeiten (Moderne) und Praktizierende dieser Techniken (männliche Künstlerkollegen) und können damit sehr genaue strukturelle und kulturelle Techniken und Rahmenbedingungen bestimmen. Der Einsatz von Griseille und Monochromie nimmt damit einen Metakommentar auf das Thema vor: Achtung, scheint das Cover mitzuteilen, wir befinden uns mit den nun folgenden Inhalten zwischen den Buchdeckeln in toxischen, ideologischen,  (quasi-)religiösen, traumatischen, malträtierenden, in wirkmächtigen Bedeutungszusammenhängen patriarchial wirksamer Strukturen und Kulturen.

In diesem Kontext ist auch das für die Umschlaggestaltung ausgewählte Zitat der Altvordern von US-amerikanischer Bürgerrechtsbewegung und Feminismus Angela Davis zu verstehen: „Complaint!  is precisly the text we need at this moment.“ Wie Whitereads künstlerische Strategie, Negativformen zu Positivformen umzuwandeln bzw. im Negativabdruck das Positiv zu erkennen – beispielsweise im Loch den Türknauf – wird genau das auch für Ahmeds Buch in Aussicht gestellt; der Einsatz von Gips für die Materialisierung des Absenten, das als ein Heilungsmaterial (in) der Medizin eingesetzt wird, weist die Richtung des hier vorgetragenen Anliegens.

art basic book general genre

Term „Complaint!ivism?“

Complaint!ivism?, neologism, still with implicit questioning: linguistic expression for a ? movement, technique, form of critique ? that places complaints at the centre of its operations. 

Word combination from

1.) the September 2021 book by Sara Ahmed “Complaint!” (Duke University Press), in which she studies complaints through the oral and written testimonies of academics and students who have made complaints about harassment, bullying, and unequal working conditions at universities. Ahmed explores the gap between what is supposed to happen when complaints are made and what actually happens. The book is a systematic analysis of the ways in which complaints can be both enforced and stopped.

2.) The suffix ‘ivism’ points to a variant of genrefication, i.e. the formation of a genre, of making complaint activities usable for the artistic field. This can be both the subject of the complaint (its methods, potentials, difficulties, etc.) and the technique of complaining (when? Where? How? To whom? With whom?). The question mark indicates a provisional nature, since at this stage this is a hypothesis to be tested in the course of the winter semester 2021/22. The examination includes, among other things, the clarification of similarities or differences, for example, to Institutional Critique, Protest Art or Conflictual Aesthetics, and is to be lined out using concrete examples from the artistic and curatorial field.