Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feminaissance and Wack

So I did get a little taste of Feminaissance on Saturday. It took us forever to leave the house so we only made the last panel, but it was a very interesting one. I wish that I had been less caffeine deprived...but this is what happens when you stay up until 4 am every night!

As I mentioned earlier, Eileen Myles is AMAZING. I'm still organizing my thoughts about the other presentations, but here are some of the notes I took during E.M.'s presentation from the "categories" panel:

- the world determines your gender before you do
- one can be caught in the midst of two [gendered] performances: one true and one false
- hormones are writing (!!!)
- gender is a public thought
- gender and "things." In inflected languages (i.e. Latin) nouns are given masculine or feminine endings. In English, some things are gendered. For example, ships are "she." Also discussed gender and hurricanes. After the panel I did some research. As it turns out, the gender of hurricanes alternates through the alphabet, which seems sort of conceptually elegant to me -- this idea of alternating gender as something controlled/contained by letters and "names." You can see this list of names here. Also, why don't we name earthquakes or volcanic eruptions? Does a hurricane seem somehow more "live"; or perhaps a storm seems more distinct from the planet itself?

We also made what felt like a very cursory tour of the WACK show, which is electric and dense and thrilling. The concentration of feminist art creates a very palpable sense of urgency and power. It also highlights a desire to "get out" of the museums, which is to say that it draws attention to/makes clear the limits of the museum. Forms are used and simultaneously undermined. Museum spaces are productive and necessary and often feel like sanctuaries, but the underlying imperative -- the quicksilver vein of the WACK show -- is that we must change the world outside the museum. This may seem like a banal point, but trust me -- it has a sharpened tip in the context of this exhibit.

Anyway, the MOCA is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Besides the WACK show, there are some very interesting pieces there. Among them are some texty pieces by Alexandra Grant, including a glinting silver wire mesh sphere which seemed like something out of one of my dreams. Another piece I *loved* was by chilean artist Livia Marin. This piece involved over 2k tubes of lipstick (!!!) aranged on a curved base; the tips of the lipstick were sculpted into all sorts of shapes and reminded me of chess pieces in drag. Thrilling.


Anonymous said...

Should commentary even be bothered with? You hypocritically censor any dissenting viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, I'll post a thought anyway. Ships / boats aren't just genderized as female. My dad, for instance, owns a fleet of tugboats and they are all named and referred to in the masculine, except for one. Also, many U.S. Navy ships are named for men, such as the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. To state that ships are referred to only as "she" is a fallacy. Personifying inanimate objects with gender among other traits isn't really so bad anyways.

femme feral said...

I'm not a hypocrite. I just have guidelines for the type of discourse I'll tolerate in these comment boxes. IF you want to make homophobic comments, you'll have to find someplace else.

That said, your comment about ships and gender prompted me to do some research and I found this:

You're right, not all ships are "she," but as the above link shows, ships have traditionally been considered feminine. That's what I think EM was getting at. It may not be a hard and fast rule, but it's certainly a tendency. One that is now being called into question over at wikipedia.

I do find the relationship between inanimate objects and gender fascinating.

This blog no longer allows anonymous comments.

smelly mcsmellsmell said...

i effing adore eileen myles. she came through with sister spit and we talked about music and she asked my name and took down music recs in a little notebook. i thought things were going pretty well until she signed my book....
"beth - i'll be looking for your name! thanks for the music rec."

which, you know. is adorable, in the old burned out kind of way.

the name's becky.