06 March 2013 > 27 March 2013 Kindly invited to the opening of "Be mine" exhibition by VE-ZA collective (Karmen Šplijak, Polonca Peterca, Tadeja Bučar) on Wednesday, 6th March, at 8 pm in the Alkatraz Gallery. The exhibition is a part of 14th International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns. You are also kindly invited to the other events of the festival, which will take place from 5th to 10th March 2013 on various locations in Ljubljana.
The exhibition is a part of 14th International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns.
You are kindly invited to the other events of the festival, which will take place from 5th to 10th March 2013 on various locations in Ljubljana.
Opening hours of the gallery during the festival (7th - 9th March): 3 pm - 11 pm.
VE-ZA is a non-profit organization for creativity and social development, engaged in media production, communication solutions for non-profit organizations and projects, informal education in the field of creativity, communication and media, as well as in socially engaged art production. It was established in 2010. Their manifest says: ‘Our primary obligation are people, therefore we measure general social development by the quality of life of those who are excluded from the social and political decision-making or invisible in daily life.’
One of the invisible groups, paradoxically, as we account for half of the population, are women. Greatly excluded from leading positions, with little word in social and political decision-making, since last year without the Office for Equal Opportunities, operational for 20 years, with a restricted right to have one’s own body and sexuality at one's own disposal, if we only think about the amendment to the Infertility Treatment and Procedures of Bio-medically-assisted Procreation Act based on the referendum of 2001. After the amendment, the procreation procedures have become inaccessible services for single women, lesbians, and women with certain genetic disorders; the Act discriminates among women, taking away the rights for procreation from those who do not meet the hetero-normatives. The same applies to the situation surrounding the Family Code, which would have represented a big step towards the elimination of the discrimination of the homosexually oriented. At the referendum in March 2012, it was, by a very poor turnout of voters (29,84 per cent), rejected. So once again the majority decided about a minority. At the end of 2011, after the Act had been passed, the Constitutional Court (of the Republic of Slovenia) enabled the execution of the referendum, even though the collecting of the required signatures was packed with non-truths and manipulations; e.g. during the collecting of the signatures, even an argument that the Family Code would legally allow the birth of children of incestuous relationships, was documented. Such and similar discredits of no solid grounds, disrespectful behaviour, and generalizations, only serving the purpose to retain the discrimination of LGBTI community and to keep the patriarchal allocation of power, also coming out of the mouth of the leading politicians, and worst of all, are not the least bit sanctioned.
Contemptuous relation towards women, control over the female body, emphasizing of her reproductive role under the condition of heterosexual relations, ownership of the female body, female pleasure that has no right to exist, ever more powerful pushing of women into household sphere and media sexualisation of the female body is what VE-ZA deals with in its interactive exhibition. The exhibition, set as ‘stations‘, requires active participation, and not only passive acceptance, which is, nevertheless, expected in political life from women. In this way there are, beside the static works, in this exhibition, also included the artworks inviting the visitors to react, give comments and co-create.
‘The exhibition questions the ownership of a woman as a collective body, incorporated into the invisible mechanisms of Foucault’s bio-politics, that controls, punishes, and regulates her at various stages of social life. It is through different elements – from visual texts, art installations, audio and video inserts – that the work deconstructs the schizophrenia of female identity, stretched between a mother/housewife and a sexual object’ states VE-ZA.
A humorous exhibition, packed with parody, is a sharp statement, at the same time acting didactically, as it brings to awareness the fragments from women’s lives to the female and especially male spectators. It stimulates the spectators to reflect about the apparent equality of genders in the western society, disintegrating the neo-liberal myths about the already achieved equality and the end of feminism.
The visual work The Woman 2.0 (Ženska 2.0) appears in the role of a virtual hostess and the fil rouge of the exhibition. This, the latest ‘model’ of a woman is an advertisement, listing functionalities and free bonuses it offers, accompanied by the sign: ‘Created from durable materials, programmed for your pleasure.’ The work problematizes the value of a woman in a patriarchal society, and questions the social and financial evaluation of the unpaid women’s labour, whilst at the same time, through the representation of a sexual object and a mother, discloses the schizophrenic nature of the socially imposed image of the woman. The installation The Wheel of Fortune is a wheel designed for pets - rodents, enlarged to a human size, that a female or male visitor cannot enter, but can spin it, and win a prize. The work, a parody of the media show The Wheel of Fortune, represents an endless repetition of unpaid labour, as household chores are still mostly in the domain of women. This, never-finished labour is not appreciated or awarded. The best possible award is a promise of the next, perhaps less strenuous task, in the sense: ‘Let our dear…for a moment (but only for a moment) leave the work...’
There is also The Whispering Space (Šepetalnica), inviting the visitors to put on a sleeping mask and headphones, transmitting – in male and female voice – various commands and prohibitions of a wider and narrower socialization of a woman. Every woman has surely heard phrases like: ‘Don’t be so heavy on us, it’s only a joke’, ‘C’mon, relax’, or read somewhere that ‘you can burn the excessive calories also with sex’, and similar stupidities, suggesting our place in the society. Even the Golden Cage of Equality (Zlata kletka enakopravnosti) is not missing from the exhibition; it contains Barbie dolls, a symbol of slippery unattainability of the social norm of femininity (appearance wise, and qualities wise), propelling the patriarchal society and capitalistic consumerism, a series of comics entitled The Woman’s Body in the 21st Century (Žensko telo v 21. stoletju), the installation The Map of Female Pleasure (Zemljevid ženskega užitka), and in the lavatory The Repair Room: Service for Women (Popravljalnica: Servis za ženske), where we can correct sexist newspaper ads. The last stop at the exhibition will be the interactive What is a Woman? (Kaj je ženska?), inviting us with a question ‘Which word comes to your mind at the moment?’ - to share a comment. Displayed at the exhibition there will also be printed versions of the on-line newspaper VE-ZA, good news for an active community, issued by the collective. The Respect Vouchers (Kuponi spoštovanja), are a gift you can give to your women partner as a promise for a fulfilled household chore in the future – as a present for the International Women’s Day, the 8th March.