OPEN CALL 2019: BRUSSELS – Poppositions: Capital of Woke

  • 06.01.2019

Application deadline PROLONGED - 9 January 2019 by midnight

The 8th edition of POPPOSITIONS will revolve around the term “woke” and how its mainstream popularity and increasing application intersects with corporate and capitalist structures. The idea of being woke and wokeness concerns raising social awareness, taking actions in response to dominant paradigms, acknowledging one’s privileges towards understanding the struggles of others, and giving space to social bodies that have been silenced, unacknowledged and underrepresented.

With the forthcoming edition of POPPOSITIONS we want to think collectively about what responses and forms of resistance can be formulated when ideologies have become trendy and woke-washing brands cash in on social justice.


To give an example, feminist slogans such as “The future is female,” “Don’t underestimate the power of a woman,” and “We should all be feminists” have increasingly permeated the public realm through global fashion companies ranging from Topshop, Asos, Monki and Dior, the latter advocating this motto on a €620 T-shirt. Dedicated website sections of these brands propagate wokeness, awareness-raising and self-empowerment, prominently stating to reserve parts of the sales revenue to, for instance, the betterment of labour conditions for women and planned parenthood. Another Monki item states “Choose Peace,” but in judging the label “Made in Bangladesh” we may come to feel that the notion of displaying wokeness through consumption often comes at a double price.

The importance of engaging in acts of consciousness raising in aiming to enact social justice, to mobilise a radical aspiration towards freedom and equality indeed seems increasingly important in a world that continues to be ridden with binaries and ongoing polarisations between dominant socio-political orders. However, what is to be done if those acts are simultaneously indexed on the vectors of advanced capitalism? Or when counter movements are overcome by internal conflict and forms of performing activism, in which spokespeople of a certain agenda engage in discussions solely reprimanding other critics and activists for their stances—this and that person just got cancelled! What forms of response and resistance can be formulated when ideologies have become trendy and woke-washing brands cash in on social justice, whilst hiding behind transparent and opportunistic but not less powerful facades of corporate social responsibility?

In other words still, in paraphrasing philosopher Rosi Braidotti, […] Advanced capitalism has sucked in, assimilated, transformed and subsumed the very subjects that should have been or were expected to be the vectors of difference. […] we have differing as processes, disengaged from the revolutionary political subjects that were supposed to be the transformative and disruptive moment, whereas now we have feminism without women as political agency, racism without races, ecology without nature. This has lead to an internal schizophrenia in which a disengagement from the processes of coding and recoding from the empirical referents, the political subjects that used to carry these agendas and were supposed to be the historical agents of change have now become encapsulated by a system in which differences are capitalised upon.[1]

Similarly located on the charged cross junction of the art market and exhibition format, aiming to promote acquisition whilst advancing criticality, POPPOSITIONS 2019 is looking for proposals that address and counteract the influence of advanced capitalism and its far-reaching management of the living, in which the human has become just one of the marketable species. From the notion of living currency, identity politics as lifestyle attribute, to discussions concerning feminism, queer, gender, blackness, migration, post-colonialism and performing activism in relation to wokeness, we would like to address issues of representation, conflict of interest, the possibilities of corporate social responsibility, performing dissent, and engaging in acts of consciousness-raising about one’s place in a scheme of things.

(1) Open Democracy, Indebted Citizenship – An Interview with Rosi Braidotti, 2014,


Applications are limited to solo shows, which will be assembled by POPPOSITIONS into one single exhibition. All forms of media and artistic disciplines are accepted. Applicants need to rely on already existing organisations that are not created for the sole purpose of POPPOSITIONS. Please note that POPPOSITIONS does not work with artists directly (collective projects marked by a single direction are equally allowed).

Applications are to be submitted online only.

You will be able to download the application guidelines with all the information you need and a short overview of the questions to come via the online application form.

Please fill out the online application form that contains:

  • Identification
  • Proposal details
  • Description of the work(s) and requirements
  • Proposal for performance or film programme (optional)

No other applications will be accepted.
Applications should be written in English.

When having successfully filled in the online application form, you will receive a submission notification by mail to your organisation e-mail address you have filled in.

We only allow applications through the online form, however if you are not able to or having problems to submit online, please don’t hesitate to contact us on:

Documents attached to the online application form have a maximum allowed file size of 10MB. POPPOSITIONS will contact selected participants within a month after the deadline of the open call.