Feminist Ecologies seeks to explore diverse articulations of identity and agency in a culturally hegemonic society. Focusing on the institution as a site of hostility with the potential for feminist interventions and curatorial transgressions, this exhibition will invite female-identifying artists to present works based on their embodied experience within the art world and across public spaces more broadly. Crucial to the ethics of respect in Feminist Ecologies is the decentring of white mainstream feminism (and the relatively privileged position of the curator) in favour of an intersectional approach, taking into account how factors of race, class and sexuality benefit some women while disadvantaging others. In particular, the works featured investigate themes of unpaid labour, domesticity, queerness and cultural hybridity. By foregrounding feminist politics and how they relate to activist strategies, Feminist Ecologies hopes to contribute to the groundswell of conversations taking place around women’s artistic and social practice.
*Chloe Hazelwood was the recipient of Verge Gallery’s Mentored Exhibition opportunity 2015.
Open for maintenance II/ We are still alive II
This work traces actions undertaken and documented earlier this year. In March 2015 ‘Open For Maintenance’ and ‘We Are Still Alive’ offered services and goods to visitors to SCA Galleries, Rozelle. Using the gallery as a studio space for production as well as a white cube for presentation, everyday actions of mending clothes (provided by visitors) and making bread (given to visitors) were moved into the gallery and declared to be art. The work’s intentions and titles drew on some Conceptual practices, specifically artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ ‘maintenance art’ and On Kawara’s various daily iterations of existence. Contextualising art as service or experience rather than goods, the actions also followed principles of unconditional giving and volunteering.
The core of ‘Open For Maintenance II’ and ‘We Are Still Alive II’ is formed from photographs and security footage edited from extensive documentation of the earlier actions. This reflects on possible relationships between the Conceptual convention of deadpan documentation of artwork actions and the current online ecology of constant experience documentation and sharing. Contemporary networked photography cultures have rendered obsolete Roland Barthes’ that-has-been quality once intrinsic to photographs. In combining still and moving imagery and foregrounding aftermath as a primary subject, this work considers the qualities of past-ness and present-ness and the value of a document that records an experience. The work is also informed by an ongoing interest in absence, transience and the ephemeral, particularly the Japanese concepts mu, ma and mono no aware. These concepts identify and articulate the often-inchoate qualities of emptiness or nothingness through space and time that are nonetheless imbued with weight and meaning, and a heightened, affective consciousness of time passing. In this work new timeframes have been created from weeks of surveilling condensed down to minutes and from photographs of mended clothes, both via the garments which have been given extended life and via before-and-after process documentation.
This exhibition explores speculative xenofeminist and cyberfeminist perspectives on immaterial labour, affective labour, hypnosis and the visual telepathy of technologically mediated performance of video documentation of live events, collaborative participation, digital montage and EEG neuroheadset interaction. Jacquelene is particularly inspired by artists who are engaged with telepathy and feminism such as artists Joan Jonas, Susan Hiller and Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger, and art historians Kristine Stiles, Lucy Lippard and Rosalind Krauss.
In ‘Disco Ball Gaze,’ Jacquelene explores hypnotic endurance gesture, quiet mental labour in a noisy nightclub, and viewer mimesis with a mirror ball, where the mirror ball becomes like an externalized mirror neuron activating moments of mirror behaviour between participants. In another participatory collaborative and site-specific work called ‘Animating the Telepathic Balaclava into Thin Air,’ participants wear her xenofeminist headpiece made from handwoven telecommunications wire whilst performing on a trampoline in the Swiss Alps.
Jacquelene also shows two works using video montage. One work ‘Video Hypnosis for Brain Computer Interface’ reuses her old VHS video artwork of 2001 that explores scenes of hypnosis in video for a new 2015 interaction with EEG neuroheadset. The viewer will be able to change the colour of the screen according to their mental state, creating a cybernetic feedback loop of technologically mediated telepathy between film history and viewer response. Another work ‘In Defence of Capitalism,’ also initiated in response to the Swiss Alps as well as a very estranging European Graduate School lecture by anarcho-libertarian architect Patrik Schumacher titled ‘In Defence of Capitalism’ largely uses scenes of various James Bonds undertaking the defence of capitalism in the snow. This work was made in dialectic relation to another video work called ‘Group Work’ exploring the radical group learning of students enrolled in Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) organised by Warren Neidich and Barry Schwabsky.
Saturday September 12, 1-3pm
What is xenofeminism and how does it relate to cyberfeminism and other feminisms found in speculative materialist and speculative realist philosophy and contemporary issues of creative work and labour? Come along and join the discussion with xenofeminist Amy Ireland, cyber feminist Virginia Barrett and speculative materialism/speculative realist environmental feminist Prue Gibson, with exhibiting artist Jacquelene Drinkall.
Images Feminist Ecologies
Images Open for Maintenance II / We Are Still Alive II
Images Visual Telepathy