histories, free spaces, participative democracy, economic justice
4 of September 2008 - 1 of May 2009
Str. Zugrav Nedelcu nr. 11 (entrance from Splaiul Tudor Vladimirescu), Timişoara, Romania
Project Feminisms will reflect on the questions and contexts of diverse feminist practices, in the broader frame of discussions about what it is relevant and what it is visible in the public sphere. The project will include public events in a Project Space in Timisoara, public campaigns, and research-gathering in the forms of a publication and a website.
"Feminism" is a difficult word to use in present Romania. The emancipatory politics of the early communist regime led to a development of the Women's Movement. However, during the regime of Ceauşescu, "emancipation" and "feminism" became only empty words, covering the gloomy reality of the thousands of deaths of women as a result of pronatalist politics. From 1989 to the present, women and men publicly declaring themselves as "feminists" had to face a double blame. On the one hand, the word carried the implications of the former communist regime. On the other hand, some present conservative public discourses consider "feminism" as being a concept "imported from the West" that has no relevance to our society, which is based on "Christian" values.
As a condition of integration into the European Union, Romania adopted a series of gender-related laws (the Law for Preventing and Combating all Forms of Discrimination (2002), the Law on Equality of Opportunity between Women and Men (2002), and the Law for Preventing and Combating Violence in the Family (2003)). The adoption of these laws is an important step in the struggle for gender equality. But still, the fact that these laws were adopted on a purely legislative level, without the appropriate institutional frame to enforce them, and the fact that their adoption was a result of external pressures and not an outcome of the pressures made by civil society (by those whom these laws actually address), diminishes their effectiveness. These laws reflect the "democratic" face of capitalism. Gender-specific issues, such as precarity, poverty, migration, and other aspects that result in violence and discrimination are not under the incidence of these laws. In a society were there is a general impression that gender issues are successfully normalized (even if they are not), the problems that individuals experience are attributed to personal failure and are not viewed as the shortcomings of society at large. The illusion of normality that these laws create causes people to think of themselves as individuals rather than members of a community, when all facets of life are commodified and living beings and ideas are important only if they contribute to the accumulation of capital.
An efficient discussion about patriarchy can be made only if its connection to capitalism is clearly shown, only if the network of privileges and power, on which global capitalism is structured, is analysed. A discussion that would not limit itself to the listing of different forms of oppression but that would refer also to the responsibility that each of us has to oppose these oppressions.
Feminisms is a tool for analysis and action.
Feminisms is a structure that brings together different initiatives, with their different purposes and approaches, a structure that creates a platform for discussions, interactions, alliances, a platform for a multiple definitions of the term "feminism", a definition that does not take the form of a label but that is a mobile and flexible basis for interpreting and for acting.
Feminisms is an artistic project that is motivated by our need to demonstrate that there are alternatives, that there are efficient tools by which a reality always seen as a monolith—all-encompassing and unchangeable—can be questioned and transformed. Even if this transformation is constructed out of small gestures.
Participants: CARE Centre, Lovekills Collective, Eva Egermann, Simina Guga, Reni Hofmüller, Vida Knezević, Katharina Koch, Ladyfest Romania/F.I.A., Ivana Marjanović, Nita Mocanu, Emil Moise, Katharina Morawek, Joanne Richardson, and, at the invitation of Kontekst Gallery, Belgrade: Elke Auer, Eva Egermann, Ksenija Forca, Katharina Morawek, Danilo Prnjat, Jelena Radić, Esther Straganz, Julia Wieger.
Project Feminisms is initiated and coordinated by h.arta group, group founded by three women artists (Maria Crista, Anca Gyemant and Rodica Tache) in 2001. h.arta projects take different formats (project spaces, publications, videos, actions) and they refer to topics ranging from knowledge production and (re)writing histories to gender issues in times of global capitalism, all these in the context of working in various collaborations with persons and groups with different backgrounds.
Project supported by: ERSTE Stiftung, Kultur Kontakt Austria, Administraţia FCN, Consiliul Local Timişoara, Consiliul Judeţean Timiş, Autoritatea Naţională pentru Tineret, German Cultural Centre Timişoara, Oesterreichischen Kulturforum.
Feminisms is a continuation of the Project Space, from the frame of the project Spaţiul Public Bucuresti | Public Art Bucharest 2007, project curated by Marius Babias and Sabine Hentzsch (www.spatiul-public.ro).