[Previous message][Next message][Back to index]
[Commlist] CFP MAI: Feminism and visual culture - special issue dedicated to women's craft work.
Tue Aug 20 10:27:00 GMT 2019
Call for abstracts for a special issue of MAI: FEMINISM AND VISUAL
CULTURE dedicated to the topic of women's craft work.
Please see below,
All best wishes,
Anna & (Isabelle)
Artistry of exquisite skill and creativity has often been belittled by
the label of ‘craft’. In the West we have developed a distinction
between art - the result of individual (male) genius - and craft, seen
as a collective, anonymous and possibly even monotonous activity:
women’s work. While there have been many revivals of interest in crafts,
from the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late nineteenth-century to the
Etsy-powered ‘mumpreneurs’ of our contemporary moment, craft has
conserved associations with the domestic rather than with public space,
consigned to the private, feminine realm and barred from the value and
status of art.
In the 1970s, feminist artists turned to craft precisely in order to
overturn this association, using women’s work in protest: ‘feminists in
their embroidery showed that the personal was the political - that
personal and domestic life is as much the product of the institutions
and ideologies of our society as is public life’ (Parker 1984: 205). In
so doing, artists such as Kate Walker and Judy Chicago drew upon a
history of craft as protest that includes the banners stitched by
suffragettes (Hunter 2019: 128-9). Surrealist artists, such as Dorothea
Tanning and Louise Bourgeois had also incorporated textiles and sewing
into unnerving, surrealist pieces that explored unconscious desire
through the wry use of ‘women’s work’. Faith Ringgold’s narrative quilts
used African American quilting techniques to give voice to stories of
slavery and racial oppression.
More recently, feminist scholars (Cvetkovich, Berlant et al) have argued
that many of the personal pathologies of our age should be understood
political, a way of thinking the personal as political in a neoliberal
age that undermines the binary between private and public: ‘what if
depression could be traced to histories of colonialism, genocide,
slavery, legal exclusion and everyday segregation?’ asks Ann Cvetkovich
(2006: 115), arguing that, ‘the intimate rituals of daily life, where
depression is embedded, need to be understood as a public arena … a
location that doesn’t always get recognised as public but which
nonetheless functions as such’ (156).
Cvetkovich further advocates for ‘crafting’s redefinition of what counts
as politics to include sensory interactions with highly tactile spaces
and with other people - or, in other words, feelings’ (177). Craft, with
its repetitive gestures, inscribing itself always in a collective
history and movement, could form the basis of a ‘utopia of everyday
habit’, countering slow death, with slow living.
This resonates with the notion of ‘craftivism’, advocated by activists
such as Betsy Greer and Sarah Corbett, who conceive of craft as a
gentle, thoughtful mode of activism that replaces unthinking quick
reactions with thoughtful, slow gestures, and helps to preserve the
maker from the violence of activism fatigue.
Might we rethink our scholarly and critical approach to visual culture
through such concepts of craft?
Essays and creative responses might address:
Critical approaches to visual culture made with traditional ‘craft’
techniques such as sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, etc.
Film as craft - montage, editing, animation (e.g. Lotte Reiniger),
Craft as protest, collective crafting
Craft as healing, repair, mending
Women artists who work with crafting techniques such as Judy
Chicago, Frida Hansen, Else-Marie Jakobsen, Eva Hesse, Tracey Emin -
to name a few…
Feminist recuperations of traditional crafting techniques such as
knitting, weaving and embroidery.
Interviews with practitioners
PLEASE SEND ABSTRACTS OF 300 WORDS FOR THE ATTENTION OF DR ISABELLE
MCNEILL AND DR ANNA BACKMAN ROGERS TO CONTACT@MAIFEMINISM.COMBY NOVEMBER
Berlant, Lauren (2008), The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of
Sentimentality in American Culture, Durham & London: Duke University Press.
Corbett, Sarah (2017), How to Be A Craftivist: The Art of Gentle
Protest, London: Unbound.
Cvetkovich, Ann (2012), Political Depression: A Public Feeling, Durham &
London: Duke University Press.
Greer, Betsy (2014), Craftivism, Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.
Hunter, Clare (2019), Threads of Life, London: Sceptre.
Parker, Roszika (1984), The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making
of the Feminine, London: I. B. Tauris.
This mailing list is a free service offered by Nico Carpentier. Please use it responsibly and wisely.
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit http://commlist.org/
Before sending a posting request, please always read the guidelines at http://commlist.org/
To contact the mailing list manager:
Email: (nico.carpentier /at/ vub.ac.be)
[Previous message][Next message][Back to index]