Women’s Movements: Feminist Agency

  • Intersections of Activism, Archiving, Art, Art History, Critical Research, Curating, Education, Feminisms and Politics of Remembrance

    International Conference Organized by < rotor > Association for Contemporary Art
    Curated by Elke Krasny (Austria)

    Graz, Austria
    November 30-December 1, 2012

Feminisms have come of age. Since the early 2000s, a renewed interest in feminisms has sparked major art exhibitions such as Global Feminisms at the Brookly Museum of Art in 2007, Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolutionat the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles or Gender Check. Femininity and Masculinity in the Art ofEastern Europe at the MUMOK in Vienna. At the same time a proliferation of activist artistic, curatorial and educational practices have practiced a differentiated approach to politics of remembrance, activated queer-feminist strategies and established networks of translocal, transnational and transdisciplinary exchange on feminisms.

Today feminisms are not only challenged with the pressures of the global, but also with the challenges of developing feminist agency which is locally specific and time-specific. Feminist agency moves between practices and theories and is distinctly marked by engagement with different fields ranging from activism to curating, archiving to critical research, politics of remembrance to emancipatory models of education. Even though these fields are different, they are interconnected and can have strong effects on each other through „temporary alliances”, artist Isa Rosenberger repeatedly speaks of, through changing modes of collaboration, coproduction and exchanges. The history of feminisms and feminist strategies is not only marked by discontinuities, but also by distinct geographic and regional differences in the former West, the former East, the global South or the global North. Curator Maura Reilly speaks of intersectionality, of difference, identity politics, postcolonialism and transnationalism.

Involved research and activating the archive, activist curating and ethics of curating, transnational exchange and collaboration and artistic practices entering the fields of the archive, the agenda of critical research, rethinking education and expanding the notions of curating have been on the forefront of feminist agency between practices and theories.

Given all these complex constellations, the meeting Women’s Movements : Feminist Agency aims to nurture exchange and possible future collaborations in a trans-disciplinary and trans-national approach. The „shared time with each other” will not be „public time” to present to a public as an audience. We are each other’s audience and will have time as a group to experience and learn about each other’s work, to find out about shared interests in varying fields and differing approaches, ways of working and identifications. The getting together is thought of as a situation of exchange between all of us and our practices and interests in order to create an opportunity to think alongside and beyond with each other and to think forward in finding out about shared interests or new questions arising out of the meeting. Sharing time with each other, learning about each other’s practices and thoughts might potentially lead into possible future exchanges and collaborations.



Carla Bobadilla – artist, curator, Vienna, Austria; Angela Dimitrakaki – writer, lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, UK; Susanna Gyulamiryan – art critic, curator, director of the Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory, Yerevan, Armenia; N’Goné Fall – independent curator, art critic and consultant in cultural engineering, Paris, France/Dakar, Senegal; Sol Haring – freelance researcher, videographer, artist and musician, Graz/Klagenfurt, Austria; Reni Hofmüller – artist, musician, curator, Graz, Austria; Elke Krasny – curator, artist, cultural theorist, writer and senior lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria; Margarethe Makovec – director of the < rotor > association for contemporary art, Graz, Austria; Karin Ondas – managerial head of Doku Graz, Austria; Lara Perry – principal lecturer at the University of Brighton, UK; Jelena Petrović – author, editor, Belgrade, Serbia/Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dorothee Richter – art historian, author and curator, Stuttgart, Germany; Mirjam Westen – curator, critic and editor, Arnhem, The Netherlands; Julia Wieger – board member of the Vereinigung Bildender Kunstlerinnen Osterreich/ VBKOE, Vienna, Austria.

The structure of the two-day meeting ‘Women’s Movements: Feminist Agency’ consisted of three parts:

  • talks and presentations by all the participants to share their practices, their work and their current questions, grouped in three different sections;
  • a round-up after the first day to establish together the main topics to be discussed and developed;
  • informal exchanges, dialogues, discussions.


Talks and Presentations

Section 1: Examples of agency of feminist curating, different perspectives
Mirjam Westen: Feminist futures, we need to attend the legacies of feminist pasts
Dorothee Richter: Dialogues and Debates. Rethinking feminist practices
Elke Krasny: Curatorial Constellations. Mapping the Everyday. Neighbourhood Claims for the Future

Section 2: Interdisciplinary feminist agency / Transnational experimental curating
Angela Dimitrakaki: Feminist Politics and Geographies of Sameness: Thoughts on Transnational Curating
Lara Perry: What a feminist network can (and can’t) do
Sol Haring: The miss(ing) Representations of Women circling 50

Section 3: Interdisciplinary feminist agency / Transnational experimental curating
Susanna Gyulamiryan: From Gender to Curatorial Troubles
Carla Bobadilla: Sketches of Migration. Post-colonial Enmeshments. Antiracist Construction Work
Margarethe Makovec: Temporary Alliances

Section 4: DIY Archives
Jelena Petrović: Bring In Take Out Living Archive (LA) – Active Methodology of the Feminist Knowledge, Production
Julia Wieger: Archives, Spaces, Histories, Futurities
Karin Ondas: Story-Telling in a feminist archive: Arranging, De-arranging and Re-arranging of self-perception. The case of the DOKU Graz archive.

Additional talks:
N’Gone Fall: Position of African women in the visual arts
Reni Hofmuller: I enjoy sharing

Biographies of Participants