Past & Fortune

Anna Zett
with Bobby Abate


Tarot Reading
Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 7 p.m.

Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street





Hosted by Anna Zett (deck) with Bobby Abate (spread), Past & Fortune is an experiment in cartomancy that will incite a discussion on both historical and contemporary forms of political anxiety.

Tarot, an apparatus of romantic fortune-telling, gathers and animates fragments of past cosmologies to produce a holistic vision of the present. The most commonly used card decks, and their adaptations, rely on a political and religious reference system codified by the nobility of late medieval Europe. Yet there are further pasts to be haunted by, and other symbolic orders to dissect and reassemble. With the promises of modernity, progress and the democratic nation state revealed as deeply unstable mythologies, we are ready to replace page, queen, king, and knight with worker, council, director, and revolutionary.

Taking spiritual cues from the Weimar Republic, a new deck-in-progress, titled “Industrie & Glück,” by Berlin-based artist Anna Zett, invites us to leap into pre-apocalyptic Berlin of the 1920s. Grounded in questions of political extremism, emotional chill and vitalist science, it will activate historical links that become only more unsettling through time. Developed to serve as narrative material for a radio play produced later this year, this is a first attempt to experience and discuss this deck in public.


Past & Fortune is strictly limited to 22 participants
Please RSVP to rsvp@artistsspace.org

Anna Zett is an artist and writer who grew up in pre- and post-communist Leipzig, and who lives in Berlin. Through media including screen, voice, text, and performance they occupy themselves with the analysis, disruption and transformation of narrative structures. Zett's video and audio work has been presented at museums, galleries, film festivals, universities and broadcast on public radio. Drawn to tragicomedy and intense physical movement, Zett co-hosts a participatory dance show titled Copy & Dance, based at the Berlin theatre Hebbel am Ufer.

Anna Zett's film This Unwieldy Object (2014) will be screened in New York as part of the exhibition Dreamlands at the Whitney Museum of American Art on January 22nd and at Union Docs on January 28th.

Bobby Abate is an artist, filmmaker and esotericist. He has screened and exhibited work at The New York Film Festival; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Cinematheque; and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. Film Comment named Bobby as one of their “25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century.” He is currently designing “The Outsider Tarot,” a hand-drawn divination system that remixes ancient mysticism, deities and staid royalty into a modern legacy of artists, queers, freaks and outsiders.