December 1, 2015

Feministing Philosophy. Sexing up Social Theory. Kegels for Hegel

Yesterday I was reading about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who published in 1895, together with a committee of women, The Woman's Bible. The idea behind it was to focus on the part of the Bible that talks about women, and to correct Biblical interpretations that were unfair towards women. That's more than a century ago, but we're still, in the 21st century, not much further, and I'm not only speaking biblically. Take philosophy, and in the art world in which I work, philosophy is used a lot, at worst in order to pepper the art so it has some substance. How many applications and artist statements start with a quote of a philosopher? What is nauseating about it, is that 99% of the time those philosophers are solely white men, luckily not all heterosexual (good old Foucault). Rarely women make it up to the canon of quotes. As it is, when they produce radical critical work, it's often shrugged off as "frustrated" or "amusing", not as something that boosts your art or application. Or it's just not considered to be philosophy. Take for instance Chris Kraus. I've been reading Chris Kraus' I Love Dick lately, and my favourite art critic and feminist poet Eileen Myles wrote in the foreword: "Kraus' ultimate achievement is philosophical ... When I Love Dick came into existence, a new kind of female life did, too." 


Last May, I met Alexis Salas and Sarah Luna at the Venice Biennial, together with my friend artist kate hers RHEE. All of them had been working together on a video Chicken Himmel (Bite Me Nietzsche) for Kegels for Hegel. Kegels for Hegel was initiated by Salas and Luna with the intent to bring together academics and artists to sex up social theory. It is, in their own words, "a conceptual art project that queers up the work of philosophers through song and music videos." This way Love Songs for G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx and Friends have come about. We got a little tipsy that day, or at least I did, and there and then we agreed upon a collaboration for Kegels for Hegel Pastelegram issue Death Drive, which materialised in three arty chicken stories I wrote, inspired by the video you can see above. You can read my stories here


Sarah Luna and kate hers RHEE at the Venice Biennial 2015 (photographer: probably me?)







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