All _Perspectives

05/05/2023 _Perspective

How to Curate a Sexist yet Canonized Artwork?

A Model for Feminist Curating of Collections

Exhibition View (body, self-portrait, vagina (pussy) Exhibition View body Exhibition view vagina (pussy) rape Vagina (Pussy) Section. Photo Credit: Taya Hanauer. rape section exhibition view old woman (cat lady) section self-portrait 1_Introduction P is for Pussy [1] was an exhibition and research project curated by myself in the project space of the artist community The Bookstore in Amsterdam West, in April 2017. It displayed select artworks from the collection of Het Kattenkabinet (The Cat Cabinet) juxtaposed with prints of famous artworks from the canonized, Western history of art as well as textual narrations, and intertwined academic, curatorial, and artistic approaches. Its aim was to re-read the institutionalized art historical narrative of the artistic turn to Modernism as an oppressive turn through representations of women and cats. The combination of these three approaches was curatorially unconventional and uniquely tailored to deal with the subject of sexist [2] representations in the history and tradition of Western art. This _Perspective reflects upon the curatorial methodology employed in the exhibition and how it can be used beyond the particular subject dealt with as a way of working with problematic [3] histories and content as they are manifested in archives, collections, and art histories. The proposed strategy is conceptual rather than a prescriptive step-by-step method. It entails a double perspective in the curatorial approach to artworks as both cultural artefacts of specific histories and subject positions, as well as sensorially provoking objects, which therefore can be analyzed in terms of underlying patterns of cultural values [4] rather than only as unique particularities. The contribution of this methodology is in rendering visible oppressive meanings and power structures naturalized in art in a way which contextualizes them rather than either censors or furthers their representational meanings. In particular, this is accomplished through redirecting the viewer’s attention to frameworks of seeing that influence artistic creation and interpretation. The act of visibilizing in this framework is not equal to a simple revealing of sorts but is rather a constructive act which holds the potential to re-narrate curated histories. The contribution of this _Perspective lies also in positioning authorial curating and determinate arguments as a feminist strategy which is co-existent with aspects of indeterminacy and ambiguity characterizing many other feminist curatorial stances. This proposed curatorial method allows for the coexistence, and furthermore, co-dependence of both determinate arguments and the indeterminate or ambiguous for effective social critique in visual art. As…

04/15/2023 _Perspective

Extended Minds and Instrumentality

On the Role of the Nonhuman in Human Cognition

The Mobilization of Matter Date 05/02/0021; Origin Time 00:42:00; Location E (321.551|223.009); Depth < 0.1km; Magnitude 2ML; Locality: Sector 5; There were 10 events of earthquakes recorded by the PGS seismic monitoring network during the early days of the second period, with nine having magnitudes of 1.75 ML and one having a magnitude of 2 ML. Only the event on the fifth day of the second period was reported felt; accumulating a total of five felt earthquakes at said location. The event of the fifth day was recorded by the local network of seismic sensors (LSN) and occurred during the period from 00:42 until 00:56 hours. I was still drowsy from a dizzying mix of sleep and caffeine induced heartbeats. Slowly, I stepped into the room where my two colleagues had already taken their seats. I reached for a chair, sat down and placed my steaming cup of coffee on the table beside me, exchanging it for the notebook and pen. The seismographs in our middle gave off nothing but a continuous noise, metal needles scraping over a rolling drum of paper. The three devices were similar in type but three different material composites in the needles produced three distinct tones. Together they filled a spectrum of indecipherable noise akin to an untuned radio. A rustling that in its continuity receded into the background of attention. The monotonous noise denoted nothing other than the actively listening sensors and the silence on the other end. The room itself was empty. Four blank walls, no windows. Only ourselves on chairs, enclosing the instruments in a triangular formation. Behind me was a single black painted door, the only opening of this space. This one was one of many containers hauled out to Sector 5. Outside, gusts of wind were breaking on the corners of our observation rooms and gave off a series of forlorn cries. The rush of air that brushed over this flat and desolate land was disrupted only by the white containers posing as observation rooms. One behind another, they were lined up in rows as if beats on a string. By following the natural shape of the shore line, the white containers formed a network of ravines through which air hustled itself at high speeds. From the moment of my arrival, I encountered this place contemptuously. The silence here presented a stark contrast to the environments I was used to.…

12/14/2022 _Perspective

The Aesthetics of Codes in Grounded Theory Research

A Scientific-Literary Essay

1_Introduction As an empirically working sociologist who analyzes her data using Grounded Theory, [60] I often deal with codes. They are a methodological heuristic for reconstructing meaning. Coding, which means the circular process of working out codes and categories in order to analytically ‘break down’ the data, forms the core of the methodology of Grounded Theory. The procedures of coding—open, axial, and selective—aim to structure the data in line with the research question, and to develop a theory that is empirically grounded. The question “What is the main story here?” [61] guides the coding process. The reconstruction of this ‘story’ holds many surprises for the researcher—not only in terms of the story’s outcome, i.e., surprises regarding the narrative content, but also personal surprises regarding one’s self-awareness. Codes emerge in a co-constructive process involving the researcher and the data. Therefore, codes are also the result of a relationship—the relationship between the researcher and the field of research in the form of the data—and are characterized by personal impressions, feelings and bodily-sensory experiences. Codes condense aesthetic experience, rendering it reflexively available and discursive. The affective and bodily subjectivity of the researcher is interwoven in the codes, it affects the production of the knowledge about the field and the object of research alike and if reflected, it can be transformed into methodological knowledge. In the following, I will exemplify this using an example from my research. After a short introduction of the methodology of Grounded Theory (2) and its coding procedures (3), I describe my own affective and bodily-sensory experiences with codes (3) and illustrate them with the example already mentioned (4). 2_The Methodology of Grounded Theory Grounded Theory is a research approach characterized by the interconnectedness of empirical research and theory building. The term Grounded Theory stands for both the specific research methodology and its outcome, namely the development of an empirically based theory that is grounded in the data. Grounded Theory does not aim at the empirical testing of an already existing theory, but instead focuses on generating new knowledge and establishing a new theory about social phenomena. Grounded Theory was developed by Barny G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss at a time when social science research and theory building still followed the criteria for scientificity of the natural sciences: a linear and standardized methodological approach, the replicability of results, and the exclusion of subjectivity of the researchers. Glaser and Strauss…

07/15/2022 _Perspective

Hijacking the Patriarchy

Pussy Riot’s and LASTESIS’ Networked Performances

-- TRIGGER AND FLASH WARNING: video contributions depict violent and flashing content [78] 1_From Witnessing to Acting Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic at the latest, most of us have been hooked on portable, networked devices 24/7 and are one swipe away from photographing, recording and live-streaming human-rights abuses, and state violations. Canadian computer engineer Steve Mann labels such actions as “sousveillance,” a combination of the French words “sous,” below, and “veiller,” to watch, highlighting the subversive potential of inverse surveillance as a tool of social and political resistance. [79] The rise of smartphone and social media users from the mid-2000s onwards, and with it the extended possibilities of processing and distribution of content, have resulted in an unprecedented, civilian agency and visibility. [80] German media scholars Winfried Gerling, Susanne Holschbach, and Petra Löffler point out that with the interactive and collaborative nature of Web 2.0., new digital and networking technologies have catalyzed the faltering position of journalistic gatekeepers and the greater say of civilians. [81] In addition to contributions by journalistic professionals, online content created by amateurs, influencers, and activists is increasingly channeled into media coverage and political opinion-making. The lowered thresholds of media agency and knowledge production resulted in a state of “distributed testimony,” in which the authenticity, credibility, and motivation of online content must be constantly assessed, all too often at the discretion of the viewers. [82] Networked visibility is not only about bearing witness to historical events and societal grievances, but also about creating an affective visual language and a participatory formula to activate decentralized, online communities. Tailoring content for the benefit of its viral performativity is, however, highly ambivalent: while operating against hegemonic structures and those in power, one simultaneously must obey their codes, which reinforces the mechanisms of communicative capitalism such as big data control, digital labor, and online voyeurism. [83] Activists have cleverly adapted to the shifting media landscape and its dynamics to spread their causes and mobilize international audiences. By intentionally producing or appropriating viral content and targeting online communities, they profit from so-called clicktivism, the act of liking, commenting, and sharing activist posts. [84] Once pushed online, it is almost impossible to track or fully remove activist content, as feeds are constantly updated and remixed on multiverse online platforms. This paradigm shift—from being represented (journalism before Web 2.0.), to being seen (“sousveillance,” “distributed testimony”) and ultimately, to acting (platform hijacking,…

07/15/2022 _Perspective

Women Artists—Still Invisible Today?

A Critical Approach to Strategies of Making Women Artists Visible

1_Women Artists’ In_Visibility—The Omnipresence of a Rather Old Phenomenon When it comes to the representation of women artists either in art historical research, in the media, or in exhibitions, the viewer and reader cannot avoid observing the inflationary use of the terms visibility and invisibility. This fact is most certainly owed to the great and seemingly growing number of projects, especially exhibitions, which are specifically dedicated to women artists, and which consider themselves to be contributing to raising awareness thereof. In 2019, for example, the National Gallery in Berlin organized the exhibition Kampf um Sichtbarkeit. Künstlerinnen der Nationalgalerie vor 1919 (English title: Fighting for Visibility: Women Artists in the Nationalgalerie before 1919), which represented “the first extensive study dedicated to all the works in the Nationalgalerie produced by women painters and sculptors before 1919.” [91] Moreover, a special issue of the French cultural magazine Télérama, published in 2021 and entitled Femmes artistes–ni vues ni connues (Women Artists—Neither Visible nor Known), presented more than 20 international women artists from the 16th century until today. The issue featured their short biographies and discussed their professional situation and in_visibility in numerous essays, informing the reader about current exhibitions focusing on women artists, like Elle font l’abstraction (Centre Pompidou, Paris, English title: Women in Abstraction), Peintres femmes 1780–1830: Naissance d’un combat (Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, English title: Women Painters, 1780–1830: The Birth of a Battle), and She-Bam Pow Pop Wizz! Les Amazones du pop (MAMAC, Nice, English title: She-Bam Pow POP Wizz! The Amazons of Pop). [92] In 2021, Karl der Grosse—Das Debattierhaus, an institution in Zurich that organizes debates on current political and social issues, held a panel about Die Unsichtbarkeit der Künstlerinnen—Ein Podium zur Unterrepräsentation der Frauen in der Kunstwelt (The Invisibility of Women Artists—A Panel on the Under-Representation of Women in the Art World). [93] These examples—drawn from exhibitions, magazines, and panels in Germany, France, and Switzerland—are only a few amongst numerous others that illustrate the recent international presence of the topic in public debate. However, the question of in_visibility of women artists is not a recent one but a central issue in feminist art history since its formation in the 1970s. In the following discussion, I will contextualize the question of women artists’ in_visibility within the discourse of art history and analyze some of the problems in the process of making women artists visible today. It becomes apparent that this…