Methodologien der Un_Sichtbarkeit: Gender & Sexualität, Kunst - Theorie - Praxis

Sascha Alexandra Zaitseva
Art and Technology, Ceramics Studio
2023S, Projektarbeit (PA), 8.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04282



This course is a collaboration between the MA Gender Studies program, the FWF project “Magic Closet and the Dream Machine” (Dep. for Anglistik, Uni Vienna) and the Ceramics Studio at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The students of this course will engage in theoretical discussions and art practices, working on the topic of In_visibility.

Visibility has an important place in queer-feminist, critical race, and dis_ability politics. Visibility is seen as necessary to gain social recognition and equality. Practices of invisibilization are often violent. They pervade media, for example, representing social homogeneity, instead of showing the diverse lifestyles and people that actually make up society. Legal and other important state and societal discourses also render invisible, thereby denying recognition, equality and inclusion, whether based on racialization, migration biography, gender, class, or dis_ability.

Yet, visibility is ambivalent. Northwest European feminist and queer politics racial critique and activisms often assume that more visibility means more political presence, more participation, and more access to privilege. Such politics overlook the complex processes at work in the field of visuality. Hence, it is important to think about "who is given to see, in what context - and most importantly: how, that is, in what form and structure." (Schaffer 2008: 12)

Moreover, visibility and invisibilities are not necessarily stable binary oppositions. What happens when meaning is concealed and a new type of speech emerges? What happens when necropolitics need to be addressed in public space? What happens when anonymous art appears in public space?

Through a theoretical overview of the potency of notions of opacity and invisibility, visibility and transparency etc. as used in Gender, Queer, and Postcolonial Studies the students will become familiar with the multitude of ways these methods have been used by minorities, artists, theorists in modern and contemporary culture. 

Through the artistic practice component (at the Ceramics Studio at the University of Applied Arts Vienna led by Sascha Zaitseva) students will get the chance to experiment with clay and other materials and creatively approach the topics discussed in the theoretical part of the seminar.

This interdisciplinary seminar is an experiment for all of us to discuss, play, and collaborate gaining new knowledge. It is not intended as result-oriented or expertise-exhibiting format. We understand that people from different backgrounds and with varying degrees of experience in theory and creative practice will join and we want to make room for all.

Students are welcome to visit the workshop on other days to continue familiarising themselves with the materials and experiment.

We invite students to not be afraid of theory or practice. This is a seminar looking for unexpected results, and as such it is important to be open to learning and sharing.

The materials for the seminar will be provided.


Each seminar session will focus on a thematic axis (e.g. what do we mean when we say invisibility and invisibilization, what is opacity and how does it operate in a postcolonial context). 

The seminar will be focusing on collaborative ways of learning and will encourage exchange between the students.

It will employ different formats: brief lectures, screenings, discussions, and artistic practice/experimentation with creative materials. 

The class has two parts: a theoretical one as well as a “hands on” one, where students can experiment with the material ceramics. Each seminar will be split between the first half (theory, discussing texts together, seeing examples of art) and the second half which will be in the studio playing with materials. Students are expected to prepare the materials provided before each seminar (read texts or listen to podcasts) so we can discuss them together.

The students will be introduced to the possibilities and most important techniques of ceramics, to enable them to realise the ideas that they developed throughout the seminar. Additionally, students will have the possibility to use the ceramics studio’s facilities under the supervision (and assistance) of the staff throughout the “focus week.” Besides the theoretical engagement, students are expected to develop an artistic project in the form of sketches (Ideenskizzen).


Students will explore how invisibilities and visibilities are informed and inform agency and empowerment for minoritarian subjects, and will engage with an extensive vocabulary of theoretical terms from the four main disciplines (Gender, Queer, Postcolonial Studies, and Arts & Culture). Moreover the students will have the chance to transfer knowledge gained from one discipline to another (art <-> theory)

Collectively, and drawing on scholarly literature and analysis, we will discuss what it means to make subjects and groups in_visible through our own academic research, activism, and artistic practice. In connection with this self-questioning, we will analyse in detail the complicated relationships between power, agency, acknowledgement and visibility. Students will become equipped with tools to analyse cultural texts (including images, films, and art objects) through such filters and be able to synthesise theory and practice while focussing on questions of in_visiblity intersectionally taking into account gender, sexuality, class, race, ability and cultural contexts. Most importantly, they will investigate forms of invisibility and opacity not only as theoretically potent concepts and theories, but as scholarly and artistic forms of knowledge production.

The course introduces students to methodological approaches which they will be able to apply critically in their own work (e.g. research and other smaller writing exercises).

The experience of a direct visualisation of one's own ideas through the material ceramics is made possible and supported on all levels. In addition, an insight into one of the largest and oldest workshops of the University of Applied Arts is provided. Through this cooperation we want to clear up misunderstandings, fear of contact, dividing lines and evaluations between the intellectual work and handcraft.




The seminar will be in German and English. The discussions of theoretical texts will be in English and the instruction in the ceramics studio will be in German. Please note this seminar is in both languages, not translated from one to the other. Students must be conversant in both languages.


10 March 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
17 March 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
24 March 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
31 March 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
21 April 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
28 April 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
05 May 2023, 13:30–16:30 Ceramics Studio
16 June 2023, 13:30–17:30 Ceramics Studio

Course Enrolment

The online registration was already closed

Art Education: subject kkp (Bachelor): Weitere Schwerpunkte: Diversity, Gender und Queer Studies 067/030.05

Art Education: subject dex (Bachelor): Weitere Schwerpunkte: Diversity, Gender und Queer Studies 074/030.05

TransArts - Transdisciplinary Arts (Bachelor): Artistic and art technology foundations: Artistic and art technology foundations 180/002.01

Expanded Museum Studies (Master): Electives: Gender Studies 537/080.34

Stage Design (1. Section): Kunsttheorie und Kulturwissenschaften: Gender Studies 542/107.06

Stage Design (2. Section): Kunsttheorie und Kulturwissenschaften: Gender Studies 542/207.06

Media Arts: Specialisation in Transmedia Arts (2. Section): Wissenschaft, Theorie und Geschichte : Genderstudies 566/208.07

Media Arts: Specialisation in Digital Arts (2. Section): Wissenschaft, Theorie, Geschichte: Genderstudies 567/208.07

Fine Arts (2. Section): Artistic and Research Practice: Offers beyond the ZKF 605/201.02

Fine Arts (2. Section): Artistic and Research Practice: Free Electives out of Artistic and Research Practice 605/201.80

Fine Arts (2. Section): Scientific and Research Practice: Gender Studies 605/202.10

Fine Arts (2. Section): Artistic Practice in Technical Context: Free Electives out of Artistic Practice in Technical Context 605/203.80

Design: Specialisation in Applied Photography and Time-based Media (2. Section): Technical Basics: Workshop-based Projects - Knowledge of Materials 626/204.20

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Philosophy: Deepening / Application 700/003.20

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