Skip to Primary Menu Skip to Utility Menu Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer
UC Santa Cruz Logo Institute of the Arts and Sciences
UC Santa Cruz Logo

Ornament and Abolition Screening

May 14 - May 26, 2024


May 14 - May 26, 2024
100 Panetta Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Hours: 12- 5 p.m. Daily (Closed Mondays)

This film series takes controversial Viennese architect and cultural theorist Adolf Loos’s 1908 lecture/essay “Ornament and Crime” as a departure point to explore the relationship between ornament and abolition in moving image practice. Loos connects ornamentation with the criminal, the degenerate, the childish, the culturally backward, the racially other, and the morbid. He rails against the “slavery” of ornamentation and the “ornament plague.” “Lack of ornament,” he contends, signifies modernity, efficiency, health, and intellectual superiority.

Ornament and Abolition assembles a wide range of works. They foreground the radical potential of the ornamental, challenge the ways in which race-ornament-criminality have been linked, and underscore the ongoing importance of questions of film form and abolition. Artists reclaim ornament, interrogate the historical role of ornament in racialization and the production of deviance, and forge critical aesthetic experiments beyond ornament. 

Curated by Althea Wasow, the series will be continuously looped and available for viewing in the IAS reception area during regular opening hours.