Anna Zett is an artist, author, director of films and radio plays, who was born in Leipzig and lives in Berlin. In her performative and narrative works she combines political and personal research. Somewhere between history and practice, between science and fiction there is the mythology of modernism as the core of her artistic discussion. She studied at Humboldt University of Berlin, Middlesex University London and the Berlin University of Arts. Her subjects included gender studies, philosophy, European ethnology and arts, the latter in Hito Steyerl’s class.
With her final thesis “Monsters of Modernity” she laid the foundation for her first films. In 2014 she published the video-lecture “Dinosaurier.gif” and a road movie-essay called “This Unwieldy object”. It was recorded on her laptop and shot in the mountainous West of the United States.
Both works deal with dinosaurs as monstrous remembrances of colonial and capitalist violence in US-American context. They have been shown internationally at art spaces and museums, festivals and conferences, like the Extinction Marathon in London, the Transmission Gallery Glasgow, the Whitney Museum New York and the Sonic Acts Festival Amsterdam.
Later on her focus shifted to working with sound, text and movement. In her sets and performances she deals with non-verbal communication, acoustic perception and the physicality of speech. At that time a play for the German public broadcasting radio station DLF and the participatory dance show Copy & Dance (in collaboration with Tina Pfurr) arose.
Performances in Cote d‘Ivoire and Cameroon deepened her examination of bodily knowledge and the problem of inter-cultural imitation.
Anna Zett’s new radio play Industrie & Glück. Meine Stimme irrt durch ein holistisches System (premiere September 2017 at the broadcast station Bayrischer Rundfuk) is an experimental synthesis of vocal therapy, gambling and fortune-telling. As a basis and means of play it’s using a set of tarot-cards, which she designed herself. As a quasi-esoteric system of symbols it adapts late-medieval tarot, yet adds a modernistic theme to it. Unlike the supposedly ahistorical system of established tarot cards, the motifs and concepts of this deck are limited by the historical framework of the Weimar Republic.
The occultist movements of this era are not in the center of attention. Instead, Anna Zett rather utilizes a playful approach with the frail cosmology of materialism (between capitalism, revolution, psychology and art) for the purpose of analyzing personal and political situations.
As part of her stay in Beijing Anna Zett wants to further develop her work with the set with regards to content, performance and the formal. Her interest lies within the Chinese origin of playing cards and the symbolical relationship between happiness and money. Over and above the historical framework of the Weimar Republic she is looking for coincidences and systems to explore the contradictory materialisms within global capitalism.