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The pandemic provoked by the Covid-19 is a calamity that brings troubling questions about the passage of the human species on Earth. Even in the corporate media it has been said that the world will no longer be the same after the pandemic. On one hand, there is speculation about the emergence of a dystopian authoritarian world where life takes place in closed environments and human relations are reduced to online interaction monitored by the state / capital’s Big-Brother. On the other hand, it is stated, in a more hopeful way, that the crisis caused by the virus will make an anti-capitalist revolution without people once it reveals the contradiction and the perversion of the system. Following the futurological speculative debate on the media, Giorgio Agamben argues about the risk of the state of exception becoming the norm, while Slavoj Žižek reflects on the emergence of a humanist communism. In this same imaginative but more raw way of thinking, Byung-Chul Han states that China’s “success” in containing the virus will inspire the West to adopt forms of digital control similar to the ones the Communist Party of China has implemented. There is nothing really new on these speculations. The point is that while pop philosophers speculate about the future, life has been extinguished.

What everyone knows so far is that the lethality of the coronavirus makes it clear not only that neoliberal democracies are unprepared to deal with humanitarian crises, but also that there is an acute incompatibility between life and capitalism. In the past forty years, this system, especially in its neoliberal version, has intensively operated based on the assumption that one’s life is more worth than another. When analyzing neoliberalism, it is possible to go back in time and compare some of its main characteristics, especially competition and merit, with racist theories such as Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism. According to Social Daewinism, social life naturally makes the strongest occupy a prominent place in society. Thus, the richest, so to speak, are the ones who survived and adapted, established themselves, in a model of life that is based on competition. The successful rich deserves by its own merit to take its place in society while those who are poor are poor because they were not able to triumph. When this theory is brought into the context of neoliberal social life, a highly competitive reality, even the death of people is naturalized. When a person fails, its failure is seen as its inability to adapt and to be useful to the system. It explains that those who have no practical value to the neoliberal system can be discarded. This logic of discarding “useless life” over “useful life” is, then, informed by idea that an individual must be productive for the functionality of the system. Therefore, it is no surprise that in the first weeks of the pandemic in the West Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro, main representatives of the far-right politics today, minimized the effects of the virus and adopted the idea of “vertical isolation”. An idea that claims for the isolation of the most fragile people to the virus, elderly people and persons with chronic diseases, while the most resistant ones, the youngest and most prone to work, continue to live and work “normally” maintaining the capital machine working.

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Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show will take place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students will show their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation. Visitors are invited to view the numerous works on site from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A specially developed corona concept will take care of your health during this weekend. We are looking forward to your visit!

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

New articles at is the social network of the HFBK. It opens a digital forum for exchange and discussion in which students, teachers, guest authors, art critics and the interested public provide a wide range of content and perspectives.

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?

Annual Exhibition 2020 at the HFBK

The HFBK’s traditional annual exhibition („Jahresausstellung“) opens in February every year. For three days the students – from first-years to post-graduates – present a broad spectrum of their current work and projects from all the different departments. All classrooms, studios and halls in the building are used. Interested visitors are cordially invited to gain an impression of the art currently being created at the HFBK.