Exercise #8: Muschis mit Schwänzen
With Tracey Rose
[Would you like to bring your kids? Please send an email for childcare until J A N U A R Y 08 to [email protected]
with subject line CHILDCARE and tell us the age of your kid(s).]
As part of SAVVY Contemporary's Speaking Feminisms series which tries to reflect on how feminist intersectional politics can be mobilise to decolonize discourse and artistic practices, Tracey Rose presents a puppet play titled Muschis mit Schwänzen. The script is an edited version of the comment section of a video interview with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in which the Nigerian writer responds to the question, What is Feminism?
Tracey Rose was born in 1974 in Durban, South Africa. She holds a Master of Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London (UK) and received her B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1996. She was trained in editing and cinematography at The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance in Johannesburg. Rose belongs to a generation of artists charged with reinventing the artistic gesture in post-Apartheid South Africa. Within this fold, she has defined a provocative visual world whose complexities reflect those of the task at hand. Refusing to simplify reality for the sake of clarity, the artist creates rich characters that inhabit worlds as interrelated as the many facets of a human personality. Her reference to theatre and the carnival tradition also places her work in the realm of satire. As such, it has consistently questioned and challenged the prevalent aesthetics of international contemporary art, the emergence of a dominant cultural narrative of struggle and reconciliation in South Africa and also post colonial, racial and feminist issues in the wider world. Working with performance, often for the camera, Tracey Rose places her body at the center of her practice. She inhabits the roles given to Africans, to African women, and to women in a male dominated world, swallowing stereotypes whole. In her quest to understand the source of these cultural meanings that define the human condition, Rose is inevitably led to religious myths of creation. The scope of Rose’s work is not limited to the boundaries of South Africa, and it has indeed quickly found a global, humanist resonance. Rose has exhibited and performed widely both at home and internationally, including the South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Dakar Biennial in 2000 & 2016; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; The Project, New York; Venice Biennial, 2001 & 2007; The Haywood Gallery, London; The Brooklyn Museum; Tate Liverpool; Bildmuseet, Umea; and most recently Museo Reina Sofia; WIELS Brussels; Dan Gunn, Berlin; EVA International, Limerick; the São Paulo Biennial; Biennial of Moving Images, Geneva; Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires; Documenta 14, Athens & Kassel.
On SPEAKING FEMINISMS:
How does the meaning of ‘feminism’ change in different contexts and times? And, what can we learn from historical feminist practices? “Feminism”, Yemisi Aribisala writes, “cannot be globally defined because Pangaea broke into pieces 250 million years ago and many wild waters and hazardous bush must be traversed to evangelise my kind of savage. The world is not one.” On the other hand, Science-fiction writer Octavia Butler describes it in terms of the act of writing yourself into the world: “You got to make your own worlds. You got to write yourself in it.”
How do we – women, men, transgender, not-men – write ourselves into the world? And, how do we unwrite an already written page? How do we imagine a different language, another collective politics from the perspective of feminist practice today? When vulnerable communities continue to be threatened by racism, xenophobia, acts of bullyism, and violence against women, gay and trans-people, we feel the urge to address these and other questions in an attempt to mobilise and develop new feminist politics and practices.
For this series of preliminary exercises, our point of departure is the acknowledgement of a deep, and we hope productive, disagreement on the meaning of and the contemporary valence of this term. Perhaps this is already what feminism is about, a form of collective non-alignment.
Through a series of performative events, talks and workshops, SPEAKING FEMINISMS enacts the multiple histories, struggles, and voices that define ‘feminism’ as both a practice and a concept.
Event held in English
The eight exercise within the series SPEAKING FEMINISM at SAVVY Contemporary is a collaboration of SAVVY Contemporary and Ifa Galerie Berlin.