Odds & Ends VII – Feminist Origins and Body Anxiety

VDB TV – The Feminist Origins

“In April 1974, Video Data Bank co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield conducted their first interview, an in-depth conversation with art historian and curator Marcia Tucker. During the remainder of that year, Blumenthal and Horsfield went on to interview four more notable art world women: Joan Mitchell, Lucy Lippard, Agnes Martin and Ree Morton.  Seen together, these five interviews mark a seminal moment in the history of 20th Century art, a moment in which women artists were increasingly being asked to define and position their practice within the growing feminist movement… [read more and watch the interviews here].

Body Anxiety – an internet exhibition

“Body Anxiety shares the varied perspectives of artists who examine gendered embodiment, performance and self-representation on the internet. Throughout art and film history, the female body and nude has been an ongoing subject in male-authored work. More often than not, the woman’s body is capitalized on in these works while their voice is muted. From the Seventies onwards, female artists employed video and performance to reclaim their bodies from this art historical trajectory. Today, artists use the internet as a platform to create and share their own imagery. While appropriation might be a common practice in contemporary art, using the internet as gender-queer performative space allows artists to question contemporary attitudes towards femininity. In “Body Anxiety” Schrager and Chan have selected a collection of female-empowering artworks to present in one single location in hopes of reshaping pre-existing narrative of gendered appropriation… [read more and view the exhibition here]”.

“Think of sex-divided wash-rooms and fashion stores.  Public spaces are gendered spaces; the web is gendered space. Once you reveal yourself to be a female-identified user, people treat you like one. On the internet I cannot escape who I really am, I can only abandon my body.  The internet has allowed women and gender-queer people to  reinvent and explore sexual identities by sharing self-imagery that radically differ from the limited versions of femininity seen in pop culture.”  From Jennifer Chan’s essay, How We Become Objects, that accompanies the exhibition (read more here).

Courtesy of curators Jennifer Chan and Leah Schrager, and artists Alexandra Marzella, Andrea Crespo, Angela Washko, Ann Hirsch, Aurorae Parker, Endam Nihan, Erika Alexander, Faith Holland, Georges Jacotey, Hannah Black, Kate Durbin, Marie Karlberg, Mary Bond, May Waver, Nancy Leticia, Rachel Rabbit White, Leah Schrager, RaFia Santana, Randon Rosenbohm, Saoirse Wall, Victoria Campbell.

“Anxiety is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behaviour. It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of generalised dread over anticipated events. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a specific real or perceived immediate threat; whereas anxiety is the expectation of a future more generalised threat.  Anxiety can be appropriate, but when experienced regularly the individual may suffer from an anxiety disorder that severely impacts upon behaviour and feelings of well being.” Adapted from Wikipedia.

Courtesy of Ann Hirsch.

Shulasmith Firestone – The Dialectic of Sex: the case for feminist revolution

In this ground breaking text from 1970, Shulasmith offers a radical view of the second wave feminist movement for social equality.  Her aim is to break free from oppressive power structures set up by nature and enforced by men.  In true manifesto-style, the book’s final chapter makes four demands:

1.The freeing of women from the tyranny of their reproductive biology by every means available, and the diffusion of the childbearing and childrearing role to the society as a whole, men as well as women.

2.The full self-determination, including economic independence, of both women and children.

3.The total integration of women and children into all aspects of the larger society

4. The freedom of all women and children to do whatever they wish sexually.

The Dialectic of Sex has recently been republished by Verso.

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time on Feminism

With Dr Helena Cronin, Co-director of the Centre for the Philosophy of the Natural and Social Sciences, London School of Economics; Dr Germaine Greer, Professor of English and Comparative Studies, Warwick University.  Listen here.

Critical Perspectives on Pornography – an episodic internet essay

“As a change from single-screen films, this week’s CarrollFletcherOnscreen brings together a series of URLs that link to a selection of films, performances, texts and websites that critically reflect on pornography as an industry, as a literary and film genre and as a pervasive part of everyday life…[here].”

Thanks to Susan Sontag, Omer Fast, Joshua Cohen, Addie Wagenknecht, Ann Hirsch, Lora Hristova and Faith Holland.

Courtesy of Faith Holland.  Original video can be seen in situ here: redtube.com/755207