July 17, 2013

Sistren Theater Collective

I just came across Sistren Theater Collective while researching for my current project. I am reading the book "Bananas, Beaches, and Bases, Making Feminist Sense of International Politics." There is a fascinating chapter on the Banana industry. The author focuses on how these plantations perpetuate system of patriarchy and race discrimination.   

Here is a little bit on Sistren:
Sistren Theatre Collective (Sistren) began in 1977 as an Independent Cultural organization of working class women who employed popular theatre techniques in their exploration and analysis of the social, political and legal condition and status of Jamaican women. Focussing particularly on poor black women, Sistren uses personal testimonies as a critique of a system, which discriminated against women on the basis of gender, class and colour.

April 25, 2013

Curated Stacks

For the past few months, the Temple Art Librarian, Jill Ludke and I have been working on a project called "Curated Stacks." The project aims to make research more accessible by showing a visual bibliography. Here  is a link to Jill's description of the project: Curated Stacks

At the presentation I gave in February, I was able to ut together a library that showcased the books I had used throughout my project. This was a way for the books to live in a different context, and be exposed to a different audience.

While I have not posted in a few months, WMAAPS has continued to live through the connections I've made. This semester, I have been doing a lot of research on food production/ feminism/ globalization/ localism. It feels great to have a direction that I am taking my work. This summer, my sister and I will be collaborating on a project in Philadelphia that has to do with local food initiatives.

February 2, 2013



Coming up! Please come and bring your friends. 

I've been reading through my transcripts and getting more and more overwhelmed by the incredible impact these women have had on me. I am forever grateful to have had this experience.

Some bits I'd like to share:

Janet Owen Driggs: And as Tania Bruguera said at the conference in Portland recently--Open Engagement, the social practice conference--she said that conceptual art is not political art. She didn't say this, I'm gonna say this. Conceptual art is fun and wonderful mind games, but it doesn't act on the ground. It might sometimes act peripherally in small and subtle ways on people's thinking, but as far as I'm concerned that's not enough. Art needs to be much more direct. So I kind of, you know, I'm always willing to leaner (laughing) and I learned, and I was intrigued, and the chess game of conceptual art is a wonderful thing, just as chess games are. But that's not why I'm interested in doing art, and it's not how I'm interested in acting in the world. By this time, I understood how far my work as an artist had come from my being as a political human.

Callie Curry (Swoon): But there like tends to be, in a lot of different systems, this like magic level of energy input and variables that allows you to, to have patterns emerge, and to have things form, and things stick together. So in my mind I was like, this feels very connected to like growth and healing, and to the fact that like things don't all just die and fall apart--they are born and they do heal, and things do regenerate themselves. And um, I really don't remember what I was talking about…Oh I was talking about sort of pessimism versus hopefulness. So feeling that if I could somehow align myself with that knowledge and be like things to come back together, things do form, things do regenerate, that like there is this lie force in the world that's about sticking things together and making meaning out of senselessness. And being like, ok I'm on that team (laughing), you know? There's only a few people on that team, but if you look at the whole world, there's some pretty remarkable people on that team.

#00:43:24-6# Judy Baca: Yeah. I mean, I didn't, well it's a little bit more complicated, but I mean all the politics and then what I had learned about how to advocate for that position…it was, I was just an administrator. So that's how I ended up doing it. I mean, I ended up, um, meeting the boys, putting together the first teams, realizing that they needed work and that they were really open to the idea of, you know, advocating for peace between them. They were willing to put down their knives for brushes, as the LA Times said. And I became quite famous very fast all along the country because, um, there was this woman working in the deep gang warfare areas, and there was like the knives for brushes kind of headline…and they'd never seen anything like it.

Peggy Diggs:  They had all these very colorful terms for what girls were called. but two for what
boys were called. So I had, through discussions with them, brought a bunch of white dress shirts and then had them silk-screened with these names on the back. And they were not ironed. I wanted to get them ironed, folded and put into plastic bags. So I took them to a local laundry
here, and I gave the laundry like 700 shirts. The women at the front desk said ohh I don't know
about this. And they brought the owner over, who was a very old kermugin guy and he looked at
it and said this is an outrage, that's just terrible, I don't think I want your business.

Phoebe Bachman:  Oh wow.

Peggy Diggs:  So I looked at him and said, 'then you know exactly how these girls feel who are
called these names and that’s the reason these shirts are being produced, to call attention to these horrible things that the girls were being called. That's all it took. He started smiling. and said oh then we welcome your business.

Phoebe Bachman:  That's so interesting.

Peggy Diggs:  It's these surprises that make this work so exciting. how you can unexpectedly
reach even one person in a very unexpected way. I love it.

January 29, 2013

Mary Beth Edelson

Works of Activism and Groups

Just ran across her work... check out We have what it takes to hang in Pace Gallery, 1994

I believe this first appeared in Chrysalis? Correct me if I am wrong.

January 28, 2013

Laundry Works

Mother Art Laundry Works

Laundry Mats have long been used as a place for public interventions. Mother Art, a collective from the 70's, 80's, brought their perspectives as mothers and artists to Laundry Mats in LA. 

“Articulate, timely and provocative, Mother Art considered the effects
of its work, especially Laundry Works, on a deep social and psychic level:‘It crossed class lines; there was something absolutely wonderfully material about dealing with the sheer transformation of dirty clothes-wet, dry and the cycle, the literal revolution -and the metaphors are ripe for connections with social revolution, perhaps even something unimagined, perhaps utopian.’" 

I think about my own work with laundromats... the menstruation series where I went and interviewed various women at laundromats around the city. 

Description of that project:

"For my last cycle (November, 2012) I chose to use hand made sanitary napkins that I had sewn together. To clean the pads, I took them to several laundromats in the city. During the time span of washing and drying the pads, I would ask women in the laundromats to speak to me about menstruation. I let them know that I was a young woman interested in how other women dealt with their periods and why they thought it was taboo to speak about in public. I asked them if I could record the conversations with audio and each one consented. The conversations varied in length but inevitably ended up touching on multiple topics outside of menstruation. The text that follows comes from partial transcripts from the conversations, focusing particularly on menstruation." -Phoebe Bachman (myself) 

There of course, is also the Laundromat Project

"The Laundromat Project is a community-based non-profit arts organization committed to the well-being of people of color living on low incomes. Understanding that creativity is a central component of healthy human beings, vibrant neighborhoods, and thriving economies, we bring art programs to where our neighbors already are: the local laundromat. In this way, we aim to raise the quality of life in New York City for people whose incomes do not guarantee broad access to mainstream arts and cultural facilities."

Laundromats are interesting because of their function as community centers. Particularly in places like New York and San Francisco, where there are laundromats on every other corner. 


“Strong feminist art might or might not be obviousy political. By virtue of its expression of a repressed cultural experience, it will always in fact be political, as long as women’s experience is not widely acknowledged in our society. The purpose of feminist art (and contrary to the myth of functionless art, it does have a purpose) is to provide information about women’s way of seeing, to invite an exchange with its audience on the issues within the work, and put forth a visuion of a feminist culture. Concerned with communication about all else, feminist art cannot rest on prior assumtions or conventions about the nature of art. Its shape will be as radical as its contents." - Suzanne Lacy, Frontires: A Journal of Woman Studies