MANIFEST yourselves! (> MANIFESTiert euch!) is an appeal and empowering hymn to the (queer) feminist manifesto as part of an ongoing protest culture and as a medium, especially of contemporary art and culture.
Image above : LASTESIS x Pussy Riot, MANIFESTO AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE, 2020, Youtube video, 08min 38s, Video still, Courtesy the artists
„We will never be quiet again.”– Suffragetten
Recent events such as the protests in Iran following the violent death of Mahsa Amini, who did not wear her headscarf “decently” according to the morality police, the restriction and criminalisation of abortion in the USA by the Supreme Court, the war of aggression against Ukraine led by the male autocrat Vladimir Putin and the nationalist-chauvinist tendencies in an increasing number of states make the urgency of the struggles led by women*, trans and non-binary people for everyday and basic rights more than clear. In Russia, the feminist punk band Pussy Riot has been visionarily pointing out grievances and especially Putin’s dangerous role for a decade and has already paid for it with persecution and imprisonment. In Chile, the collective LASTESIS triggered a wave of protest in 2019 with their song and participatory performance Un amigo en tu camino, which was amplified and shared thousands of times far beyond the continent’s borders.
In the face of various social stigmatisations, occupational discrimination, gender pay and data gaps, domestic violence and femicides, even 100 years after the first major women’s movements, namely the suffragettes in Britain and the USA, women, trans and non-binary persons still present themselves as politically and socially strongly disadvantaged groups compared to men. In reaction to this, (queer) feminist manifestos are permanently emerging as emblematic statements in which anger and critical non-conformity, demands for structural transformations and parity find an explicit form of expression. They resound in the streets and appear in song lyrics, we encounter them as posters, they are put into books and go viral on the net. The basic tenor uniting them is that of empowerment and self-assertion. With their characteristic features of language and form, combined with a fascinating variety of thematic emphases and individual perspectives, manifestos form a central element of the feminist art history of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The exhibition MANIFESTiert Euch! traces the development of (queer) feminist manifestos and shows public, often politically motivated statements by women, trans and non-binary people in different contexts. The various feminisms are expanding from the white and academic forms of the 1960s and 1970s to an intersectional understanding: in addition to categories such as biological sex and gender identity, age or (dis)ability, class and religion, experiences of discrimination qua segregation, colonial power structures or (late) capitalist labour relations are becoming central. While #metoo led to the collective rebellion of many prominent women in the public sphere in recent years, Black Feminism gained a noticeable presence in society as a whole in parallel to this and since 2013, intensified by the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The devastating objectification of the environment is also increasingly reflected in feminist manifestos. Ecological issues and the critique of a mostly male-coded violence of destruction and hubris are coming into focus. Parallel to this, more and more influential statements by women*, trans and non-binary people are also developing in techno and cyberspace, ranging from cyborg and technoid slime to glitch feminism.
The exhibition MANIFEST euch! shows the uninterruptedly pulsating (queer) feminist manifesto culture since the suffragettes and reflects its dazzling, partly contradictory facets. In doing so, it focuses on different regions, cultural contexts and medialities. For the first time, it includes manifestos in the form of texts, sculptural objects, installations, soundtracks, videos and performances as well as striking documents on the history of the feminist manifesto. Numerous manifestos will be made accessible to visitors in a research lounge and the publication accompanying the exhibition. The cooperation partners alpha nova & galerie futura, re.act.feminism e.V., Akademisches Netzwerk Osteuropa e.V. as well as Elena Zanichelli (Mariann Steegmann Institut | Kunst & Gender) and students of the University of Bremen plan to present their own projects in dialogue with the exhibition theme. On the opening evening, FRZNTE and luïza luz will realise a pole sound performance developed for MANIFESTiert Euch!
„Use the F Word. Be a feminist.”– Guerrilla Girls
Participating artists: Ouassila Arras, Rufina Bazlova, Lynda Benglis, Monica Bonvicini, Lizzie Borden, Andrea Bowers, Janet Burchill/Jennifer McCamley, Ulrike Flaig, Ceal Floyer, FRZNTE/Kolbeinn Hugi, Regina José Galindo, Guerrilla Girls, Holzinger/Sahihi,Bojana S. Knežević /Katarina Petrović (Femkanje), LASTESIS x PussyRiot, Signe Pierce/Alli Coates, Tabita Rezaire, Marinella Senatore, Beth Stephens/Annie Sprinkle, VNS Matrix, Del LaGrace Volcano and Billie Zangewa.
Curated by Valeria Schulte-Fischedick
Curatorial assistance: Luise von Nobbe
Vernissage: Thursday, 17 November 2022, 7p.m.-2p.m.
Exhibition dates: Friday, 18 November 2022 – Sunday, 22 January 2023
Kottbusser Str. 10/d