Käthe Wenzel
IFK_Senior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2021 bis 31. January 2022

Käthe Wenzel


CV Machine. A translation engine for survival in times of automated labour


CV Machine translates non-linear life with its failures into crisp CVs that are suitable for competitive job market. As an automated optimization and de-optimization service, this tool hacks into the culture of self-optimization and professional performance. Drawing on a largely unrecognized translation culture as a day-to-day practice of re-writing personal history, the project deliberately ignores that the avoidance of »CV gaps« is a product of privilege. Like a revolver in the American West, the CV Machine pretends to be an »equalizer,« abolishing or at least balancing privilege. Obviously, it is bound to fail and remains a non-functional prosthesis.

Recurring scandals ranging from »doctored CVs« to fraudulent Ph.D.s bear witness of people’s plight to appear and perform. This principle also applies to global movers and shakers, who turn this principle into a caricature. The CV Machine’s two-way translation engine articulates a call for a »culture of failure« allowing for more realistic CVs as well as for a return to politics based on facts.


Käthe Wenzel develops ready-to-go products for tackling the obstacles of hegemonial culture: prosthesis to complete deficient bodies, survival kits, and machines. She works on utopian ideas, the future, and alternative concepts for society, infiltrating urban systems and services from the streets to the internet. Since 2016, Käthe Wenzel is Professor for Aesthetic Practice at European University Flensburg. She received numerous grants by the Fulbright Foundation, Stiftung Kulturfonds, and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung among others. Her works are included in international collections. Wenzel studied in Marburg, Florence, and Berlin. Her Ph.D. is titled »Meat as a Material in Art« (2003). She is currently IFK_Senior Fellow.



Mixed Systems. Projects 2010–2018 with essays by Gabriele Dietze, Jessica Ullrich, Matthias Reichelt, Berlin 2019; with Manfred Blohm (eds.), HalfLife – Machines/Organisms. Artistic Positions in the Context of Climate Change and Extinction, Hannover 2018; with Lisa Glauer and Tatjana Fell (eds.), A decisive Part is missing. Negotiations between art and science, Berlin 2008.


  • Lecture
Käthe Wenzel

»I am sorry to leave early, I have to be in another meeting.« If you have ever made such a claim while actually needing to look after your family, to eat or just to breathe – then Doc Wenzel’s CV Machine is the right tool for you! It’s a two-way translation device for contemporary work environments.