Embodiments – Revisiting Ideas on Politics of Gender
Where is the phantom? 20 years ago, the group “Übung am Phantom” investigated strategies of cultural and feminist film in Europe and North America by placing works from the 1960s and 70s into contemporary contexts. Übung am Phantom regarded gender as the constant imitation of its own ideal. This performative character of gender seemed to offer subversive chances. In their own video piece Imitation of Life – Almost like a Movie, the group relocated images of feminine hysteria from the rigid framework that generated them into a discursive context. The basic assumption was that identity is produced by social processes and is therefore variable. However, Übung am Phantom had a scope of action largely restricted to the discourse of a specific time and place. How do we see such projects now, from the point of view of recent geopolitical changes? Which strategies grow out of the memory of the GDR and the contemporary Arab situation? What is the underlying social matrix determining women’s experience in public space in Cairo? Nine women artists, curators and scholars discuss site-specific and time-specific possibilities for reappropriating the cultural techniques that produce gender.
Stefanie Schulte Strathaus