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Enjoy Poverty - Youth in Action


Renzo Marten’s work Enjoy Poverty. Episode III (2008), shown in 2010 Berlin Biennial deals with notions of poverty and power. In some segments of the film, we see Martens engaged with local people. He tries to make the mechanisms of their exploitation clear to them. He teaches them to enjoy their poverty: the words, “Enjoy Poverty,” are spelled out in big neon lights mounted on a raft with which he travels along the Congo River. His video explores the tension between the depravity of the neon signs and its obvious reference to the art industry and their message, displaced to a foreign context. The example of Renzo Marten’s work unfolds questions that are to be explored during the workshop:
// How does art production operate within these conceptual tensions?
// When does it reinforce existing clichés and when does it succeed to offer a specific approach?
// What are the practices of aesthetising poverty/power?
// Within the framework of economy in its wider sense: how the outside power relations of poverty/wealth are transferred into the economy of an artwork, and eventually, the art world in general?
// What do such transactions produce?

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