Salon Lisette Smits

30 Aug 2016
Klosterstraße 50, 10179 Berlin, Germany

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“The Applicant”

An early evening of readings and performance
between obedience and disobedience
in the diplomat’s guest apartment of a highly secured building
dedicated to civil service
between safe haven and violability;
the paradox of sovereignty

Tuesday 30 August, 18.00 – 21.00 hrs
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Klosterstr. 50
10178 Berlin

Organized by Lisette Smits

With: Vela Arbutina, Alex Turgeon, Werker (Rogier Delfos and Marc Roig Blesa), Krist Gruijthuijsen, Jenna Sutela, Tess Edmonson, Swetlana Heger, Hanne Lippard.

The Applicant marks the end of Lisette Smits’ residency at Air Berlin Alexanderplatz, during which she has focused on a research exploring the human voice, as a means to or an end in itself, within artistic practice.
The Applicant here, as we may assume, is the resident herself. It is also the title of a poem by Sylvia Plath she wrote between end of the 1950s and her untimely death in 1963.

“The Applicant is explicitly a portrait of marriage in contemporary Western culture. However, the ‘courtship’ and ‘wedding’ in the poem represent not only male/female relations but human relations in general. That job seeking is the central metaphor in The Applicant suggests a close connection between the capitalist economic system, the patriarchal family structure, and the general depersonalization of human relations. Somehow all interaction between people, and especially that between men and women, given the history of the use of women as items of barter, seems here to be conditioned by the ideology of a bureaucratized market place. […] (1)

Plath’s poem thus not only represents the socialization pressure to conform to role models and fixed gender identities; in a wider and deeper understanding The Applicant embodies a general condition of economic and psychological dependency on a perpetual system that offers no exit. The Applicant might be the artist who finds her / himself – artistically, socially, politically – compromised by this.

The event takes place in the top floor apartment of the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, designed by Rem Koolhaas (OMA). The architect has referred to the building as a combination of obedience and disobedience, fulfilling certain city planning guidelines while ignoring others.

“The office […] realized the building in a combination of obedience (fulfilling the block’s perimeter) and disobedience (building a solitary cube).”

This event is part of ABA salon presentations.
It is kindly hosted and supported by the Dutch Embassy in Berlin.
AIR Berlin Alexanderplatz is supported by the Mondriaan Foundation Amsterdam.

Drinks and snacks will be served.

Sincerely Yours,
The Applicant

1) Pamela J. Annas: The Self in the World: The Social Context of Sylvia Plath’s Late Poems, in: Women’s Studies, Vol. 7, Nos. 1-2, 1980, pp. 171-83