“Institute of Applied Speech”
by Anne Mette Schultz
Edited and designed
in collaboration with the author
Forlaget emancipa(t/ss)ionsfrugten



I am sitting in the library at an old convent in southern France. But I’m not a nun and this place isn’t a convent anymore. It is an art school and I’m here as the young artist. They have given me a place to stay and awarded me a scholarship. But I’m angry at the system and in a homespun therapy séance with my colleagues, I confess that I feel uncomfortable in the role of being an artist: “The figure’s tradition does not belong to me; I know that art serves another larger project. Besides, I’ve got nothing to say: you can find me in my ivory tower.” But in reality, what scares me is how well I fit in. My critical attitude and my uncertainty have proven to be a form of conduct that the system rewards.

I focus on getting the reality that surrounds my person to glide slightly. I have made my way toward a method that makes use of planning and of language’s capacity to produce reality. I mobilize myself as something else, and station a gaze that makes it possible to see myself from the outside. The difference between before and after continues to fascinate me. The document that remains makes me laugh.

Two years ago, I left Denmark. I wanted to get away, to move outside the frame. In Paris, I took up my place at an institution that identified itself as “alternative”. I wanted to understand the connection between ideology and the daily running of the institution. I thought it might be useful to know the difference between operating on the front side and operating on the back side. Back in Copenhagen, I am famous for my absence. I’m on a visit there, in order to look for a portrait of myself as an art student. In the portrait, I am posing at a desk with, among other people, Anne-Mette Schultz. I had invited the participants to engage in a discussion about the meaning of artistic education, and the photograph we took of ourselves was supposed to stand as an opaque documentation of our conversation. At around the same time, Anne-Mette started to write about the Institute of Applied Speech. When she asked me, later on, if I would collaborate with her on publishing the texts, I regarded this as a continuation of our dialogue. The texts and the audience that I imagined the texts would reach gave rise to a new role. I became the editor.

The Institute of Applied Speech is an anthology of texts that deal with the connection between language, art and politics. The institute, like all other institutions, is borne forth by language. It’s no secret that the Institute of Applied Speech is a fiction and that I am part of the performance. In much the manner of a staged portrait, i.e. the evidence of a represented self, the texts are the material that renders the institute real. In the institute, work is going on that is tangible to the artist.