May 14th, 6pm

Domestic Optimism

Video screening and artist talk with Emma Wolf-Haugh

Moderation: Fiona McGovern

Domestic Optimism is a multi faceted project about mangled and mistold modernist legacies. The project begins with furniture, inanimate objects that come loaded with social connections and invisible histories. Through the displacement of cultural detritus Emma Wolf-Haugh retells modernist architectural history in the collective key of queer, feminist and de-colonial practices, continually unearthing filth in times of hygiene, and complicating things that were never simple to begin with.

Colonial aesthetics, obscenity trials, hysterical masculinity, crime scene photography, sexology, the production of the lesbian throughout modernity and the current collapse of social housing projects, all intersect in a critical, queer, working class reading of architectural and design modernism. The project underscores the importance of solidarity, friendship and collectivity, for our communion and survival in the world today.

Emma Wolf-Haugh’s video Domestic Optimism, Act One, Modernism – A Lesbian Love Story (2020) will be screened in English with German subtitles. It is followed by a conversation between the artist and Fiona McGovern in English, questions can also be posed in German.

This is an online event.

Please register by May 13th :

Please also use this email address for general inquiries and questions regarding access.

Domestic Optimism, Act One, Modernism – A Lesbian Love Story will be on display at the Kunstverein Hildesheim (Am Kehrwieder 2, 31134 Hildesheim) from May 15th to June 13th.


May 15th, 12am-2pm

The Lazerbeam Theirstory Projects – Conjuring the post-pandemic collapse of capitalism and the propositional reclamation of queer, working class, architectural history

Workshop with Emma Wolf-Haugh

This two hour workshop will open up the interconnected research and propositional work involved in the making of the project Domestic Optimism. The central question we will deal with together asks how can we approach the spatialising and embodying of speculative imaginaries in exhibition contexts?

With a focus on the disruptive force of the queer working class body in institutional and ideological space (the museum, historical narrative, architectural discourse), Domestic Optimism unfolds long term research about modernist architectural and design histories in a de-colonial key.

Workshop participants will be invited to discuss and propose possible approaches towards translating speculative text into exhibition. Emma Wolf-Haugh will guide the group through materials with a focus on questions of opacity and the nuanced negotiation between the viewer, the performing queer body and historical narrative.

Wolf-Haugh will make a selection of image and text materials from their research available before and during the workshop to support a space for active thought and exchange in considering these questions.

Due to its interactive character this event is limited to 16 participants. It will happen as an online conference and held in English.

Please register by May 13th:

Please also use this email address for general inquiries and questions regarding access.

Emma Wolf-Haugh is a visual artist, educator and writer. They are co-founder of the artist collective The Many Headed Hydra together with Suza Husse. In 2019/20 they were awarded the IMMA 1000 Residency by the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Current & recent projects include: Domestic Optimism. Act One: Modernism – A Lesbian Love Story (Grazer Kunstverein), seized by the Left Hand (Dundee Contemporary Arts), Is it Possible to Exist Outside of Language (Karachi, Pakistan), I SLIPPED INTO MY FIRST METAMORPHOSIS SO QUIETLY THAT NO ONE NOTICED (Den Frie Center Of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen), Colomboscope interdisciplinary arts festival, with The Many Headed Hydra, Sri Lanka.

Fiona McGovern is an art historian, writer and curator, currently working as an Assistant-Professor for Curatorial Practice and Art Mediation at the University of Hildesheim. Her research, curatorial and educational practice center around ethics of curating, art historiography and transdisciplinary approaches in the arts.


Die Veranstaltung findet im Rahmen von Körperpolitiken im Ausstellungskontext statt und ist Teil der fortlaufenden Veranstaltungsreihe #kuratorischepraxis.