Producing one another

Alina and Valerica’s work conceptually overlaps or draws from the residency they are currently in. Alina took the chance of the residency format of Hotel Maria Kapel in Hoorn, the Netherlands, in order to flip the switch on her relationship with her mother. During the month of July, 9 years into Alina’s move to the Netherlands, she temporarily uprooted her mother from Romania and continued with her a dialogue that began at birth.

She did this in order to allow them both to learn from each other’s new ways of being, with the benefit of almost a decade that passed since her departure and the 2,500 km that needed to be traveled to meet each other in person. During their residency at HMK, they took time to reflect on the old ways that made them who they are as individuals and in relation: from traditional modes of employment to lifelong frames of reference, to national identity, and the many emotional hurdles that mothers and daughters step over on their way to producing one another.

The outcomes

The work - Part 1: passport-ready photos made to Dutch passport standards in a trainstation photo automat.

The work - Part 2: two large scale wall prints, opposite one another

Exhibited as: Producing one another @Frappant e.V. in Hamburg, during But I have my Gossips, everyone, one foot further I will not go - A collaborative group show on the many meanings of gossip and their friendship, alongside: Art Goss, Belia Brückner, Merle Dammhayn, Franziska Liza König, Nadine Lohof, Cristina Rüesch.

The work that was exhibited there consisted of two large wall prints, one opposite the other.

Silvia Federici‘s study of the etymological transformation of the term gossip served as the starting point for the exhibition concept of "But I have my gossips, everyone, one foot further I will not go". In it’s original sense, ›gossip‹ identified those women who were close to each other and carried out their daily work together. The formerly positive connotation of this term was mixed with a pejorative disdain only in the course of the 16th century. Federici traced this development historically and examined it’s evolution phenomenologically in the context of proto-capitalist processes. In the course of increasing primitive accumulation, the place of women* was increasingly situated in marriage. The motivation for this enclosure layed in the impounding of the specifically female* ability to reproduce. Thus, the succession of constantly renewed generations of workers was guaranteed. Through their work, the invited positions – all flinta-identifying - created visibility for the networks at work in the art field and the (historical) vehemence of fraternizations. They exposed power relations and deconstructed their narratives. They also conceived alternative forms of collaborative creation based on solidarity that defied the pejorative imposed.

During Friday, 23rd of July, 7pm the installation of the work took place. The installation itself functioned as an illustration of women carrying out their daily work together. If someone were to need to frame this theoretically, they would include a reference to Silvia Federici’s notion of Tätigkeitsgemeinschaften. In real life the framing happens naturally - community is built by sharing tasks, by anticipating the other’s movements, by communicating beyond language, intuiting the other’s needs, in time.

All photos under the frappant e.V. title are courtesy of: Charlotte Spiegelfeld.

The work - Part 3: a text written for tubelight magazine. (TBA)

The work - Part 4: an ongoing library of references about motherhood.

So far my library comprises of:

Sophie Lewis - Full Surrogacy Now (via @andreea_bzu)

Sheila Heti - Motherhood

Jenny Offill - Dept. of Speculation

Anna Prushinskaya - A Woman is a Woman Until She Is a Mother

Sarah Knott - Mother Is a Verb

Adrienne Rich - Of Woman Born

Elif Shafak - Black Milk

Deborah Levy - Things I Don't Want to Know

Rachel Cusk - A Life's Work

Moyra Davey - Mother Reader

Heather Christle - The Crying Book

Additions to the list:

Angela Garbes - Like a Mother, Silvia Federici - Caliban and the Witch, Orna Donath - #regrettingmotherhood (via @dafnamaimon)

Shirley Jackson - Raising Demons, Tatiana Tibuleac - Vara in care mama a avut ochii verzi, Lucia Berlin - A manual for cleaning women (via @adina_si_pruncii)

Ina May Gaskin - Guide to childbirth (via @innakochkina)

Avni Doshi - Burnt Sugar, Bryan Washington - Memorial, Douglas Stuart - Shuggie Bain, Nell Frizzell - The Panic Years (via @ileanafaur)

Iman Mersal - How to Mend: Motherhood and Its Ghosts and Audrey Lorde - Zami (via @yuliia.elyas)

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, Mai'a Williams - Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (via @dayna.casey)

Julietta Singh, No Archive Will Restore You and Mirene Arsanios, Notes on Mother Tongues (via @isobel_rd)

Rebecca Solnit, Rebecca Solnit on Women’s Work and the Myth of the Art Monster and The Mother of All Questions via @vosa_te_relde)

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