Category Archives: Feminist Theory

Report from Stavanger

Days in Stavanger have been a long but exciting. Annie Sprinkle’s and Beth Stephens’ work and them just being part of TW1 project (and Stavanger 2008) have caused a great controversy in Stavanger. There have been attacks against their work and especially Annie as she has been a porn star and a prostitute in her past -and of course us and TouScene as organisers of this project. So since yesterday we have been in interviews by newspapers, radio and television. And mostly all we have done, is talk about porn and prostitution –although Annie’s and Beth’s work is not about either of those things. Their work is about love and the seven year project they are involved in at the moment can be viewed on their website www.loveartlab.org in more detail.
Anyway, Annie and Beth are just amazing artists and incredible women and feminists and I’m so proud that I have been able to curate them into the project.

Annie & Beth had posted this email out to their fellow artists to tell a little about their experiences:

“Fellow performance artists,

Today’s performance piece in Stavanger, Norway.
By the Love Art Laboratory.

1. Sensationalist press writes about prostitute/porn star (Annie) and her lesbian lover coming to “give away free sex in norway as art”!!!! ??? (SO not true)
2. Anti-porn feminists protest Sidewalk Sex Clinic with Beth and Tom Garretson (fellow artist from Oslo). And also protest the curators of art exhibit and harass the funders of art project we and other artists are doing. Saying art org supports prostitution and porn!!!! ???
3. A tall man (Neo nazi?) in ski mask walks up to our window and spray paints a Jewish star and writes JEW on the windows of the building we’re doing our performance in. (Annie is Jewish blood–Unitarian actually)
4. We, the friendly performance artists, then go stand among the crowd of anti-porn (“all porn stars are victims or perpetrators”) feminists while wearing our white lab coats and holding daisies. Confusing the anti-porn feminists and the media and amusing ourselves.

It was an interesting day.

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Annie”

Yesterday was the first day of the showing period so there were great tours by the artists, sculptures, installations, sound, performance etc. happening. I’m quite pleased how it all went and the works were very well attended by audiences and very covered in the media. Here are some images I’ve taken during the last couple of days.

The demonstration by Ottar yestrday: demonstration3_pos.jpg

demonstration2_pos.jpg

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Free Sidewalk Sex Clinic by LoveArtLab & Tom Garretson:

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Annie & Atle, the owner of the Love Shop:

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Geir, our producer and Per Arna, the general manager of Tou Scene:

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Elaine Kordys floating in Badedammen:

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Helge Olav:

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Mariela Limerutti:

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Mona & Torunn:

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A tour on Nytorget:

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Torunn by the sculpture of Nils Thomas & Rune:

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Kristen Gustavson from Urban Sjöfront:

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TW1 artists with Kirsten:

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Pedersgata:

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Trond from the Svop/t -team:

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The Pedicab:

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Tom & Beth & Annie:

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Links:
http://aftenbladet.no/webtv/?id=654228
http://www.rogalandsavis.no/nyheter/article3603208.ece
http://www.aftenbladet.no/kultur/2008/article653510.ece
http://www.rogalandsavis.no/puls/article3599402.ece
http://www.aftenbladet.no/debatt/article653242.ece
http://nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/rogaland/nord-jaeren/1.5984981
http://www.aftenbladet.no/kultur/2008/article654522.ece
http://www.rogalandsavis.no/puls/article3604256.ece
http://www.stavangeravisen.com/art.asp?id=41974
http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/rogaland/stavanger2008/1.5905196
http://www.rogalandsavis.no/puls/article3557723.ece
http://www.ostpluss.no/urban/public/openIndex?ARTICLE_ID=958&PROJECT_ID=287
http://www.regionstavanger.com/?c=25&intro=85_614_8&PR=292_11_115&mi=mct6&sp=NO
http://web3.aftenbladet.no/kultur/hvaskjer/?instanceid=12077575
http://www.trafo.no/nyheter/2008/06/er_prostitusjon_kultur-1366/
http://www.rogalandsavis.no/puls/article3466323.ece
http://studyfeminism.blogspot.com/2008/03/tou-works.html

More updates coming shortly.

Johanna

Mulla ei oo mitään päälle pantavaa –premiere next week

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There’s been pretty good publicity about the upcoming I don’t have anything to wear performances. There have been articles about the work with images in Savon Sanomat (10.3.) and Viikko-Savo (10.3.) and some radio stations were interested in it but I’m not sure if they have broadcasted anything as I haven’t had time to listen to the radio. But as I was in town today there were many people saying that they are coming to see the work so the best way to make sure that you get to see it, is to make a reservation! The gallery space is limited so once it’s full it’s full. So yes, email or call me to make a reservation.
The rehearsals with Jaana went very well as usual, and I’m blessed to work with her. The piece lasts about an hour, maybe a little more but it’s difficult to say at the moment as we have not been physically working in the gallery yet. The space there is just beautiful and it’s quite an unusual space so it’s a bit of a mystery to see how we will fit in there with our clothes, props, Jaap’s sound system, Kaisa’s exhibition and our audience! And oh god what will the audience think as they’ll watch us constantly talking about what to wear, wondering how to look convincing, how to appear professional, how to look taller and thinner and younger and especially when they see us pretending to do yoga in bras and fishnet tights!
Well, we think it’s fun and contradicting and pointing out the superficiality of it all. Let’s see if our audience agrees.
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Photographs: Pekka Mäkinen

My latest column was published in the Kuopion Kaupunkilehti on the internationl Women’s Day on the 8th of March and here it is (in Finnish) if you didn’t get the paper itself:

“Voiko feministi äänestää miestä?

8.3. vietetään kansainvälistä naisten päivää, 18.3. ovat eduskuntavaalit ja 19.3. on valtakunnallinen liputuspäivä Minna Canthin ja tasa-arvon kunniaksi. Kotiin jaettuja, varsin miehisiä vaalimainoksia selatessa ei ihan heti tule sellainen olo että monetkaan ehdokkaat olisivat kovinkaan perehtyneitä sukupuolen politiikkaan, pitäisivät tasa-arvoa keskeisimpänä keinona kohti parempaa Pohjois-Savoa saatikka julistautuisivat feministeiksi. Vaalilauseet julistavat mm. ”Vahva viitostien vaikuttaja” (Markku Eestilä), ”Miksi vähäosaiset unohdettiin?” (Kari Kärkkäinen), ”Rehellisesti ja rohkeasti” (Kari Rajamäki), ”Ihmiselle hyvä” (Pentti Oinonen), ”Monien mahdollisuuksien Panu eduskuntaan” (Panu Hiekkala), ”Oikea työväenmies vasemmalta” (Matti Semi), ”Kun uskomme itseemme, muutkin uskovat meihin” (Ossi Martikainen) ja niin edelleen. Siis mitä?! Tyhjää täynnä.
Joitakin viikkoja sitten kävimme feministiystävieni kanssa kuvauttamassa itsemme kirjastolla Megafån -taiteilijaryhmän Feministitapettiin. Kirjastolla pyöri lähinnä nuoria naisia sekä joitakin lapsiperheitä, mutta myös yksi kansanedustajaehdokasmies kävi itsensä kuvauttamassa! Hän oli Raimo Tuomainen, joka myös vaalilehdessään tunnustautuu feministiksi muistuttaen meitä Suomessa vallitsevasta näennäisestä tasa-arvosta, jossa esimerkiksi naisen euro on 80 senttiä ja vanhemmuuden kustannukset ovat naisten työnantajien vastuulla, mikä johtaa helposti nuorten naisten syrjimiseen työhönottotilanteissa. Tuomainen puhuu myös isyyden juhlistamisesta ja on erittäin huolestunut miesten ja isien syrjäytymisestä omista perheistään.
Olen tottunut äänestämään nuoria naisia, joita ei totisesti eduskunnassa tai politiikassa ylipäätään ole yhtään liikaa. Uskon kuitenkin, että on parempi äänestää sukupuolipoliittisesti valveutunutta feministimiestä kuin naista, joka uskoo että ammatillinen menestyminen on kiinni vain yksilön lahjakkuudesta ja ahkeruudesta, riippumatta jalkovälin varustuksesta. Vielä neljä vuotta sitten ei Pohjois-Savossa ollut edes naisen trendikästä käyttää f-sanaa julkisesti ainakaan eduskuntavaalien yhteydessä. Valituksihan tulikin 9 miestä ja yksi nainen! Vaikka aina ei jaksa uskoa huomiseen, niin pakko on sanoa, että jotakin positiivista on täytynyt tapahtua kun ehdokkaana on ainakin yksi feministi – olkoonkin mies.”

And what I picked up from the atmosphere at the Kuopio market square today, it seems that Raimo is well on his way to the Finnish parliament. Hurray!

Hope you are all well and hope to see you in the performances next week!
Johanna

Good day (got the grant and much more)

Today was a busy but quite an interesting and good day in the end. First, I got a very exciting email asking if I was interested in one international project (which I was) and in the evening I got a text message from the regional arts council of North Savo saying that I have been given a one year artist grant for 2007. This is good news, but to be perfectly honest, I had applied a longer grant and was quite disappointed that I didn’t get one. It just makes the long term planning and commitments so much more difficult as I have again no idea how I will fund my work in 2008.
But now is now, and things are definitely moving to the right directions. I’m sipping champagne (the cheapest you can get in Alko), called my mom and just finished working. I sent my DVD to Norway today, talked with Emma Puikkonen on the phone about continuing to perform Cosmetics and green peas (yes!) and had a great Skype session with Gregg about the Talks & Deeds programme and ANTI 2007 artists etc. So yes, it was all inspiring and exciting.
Working with Jaana over the weekend was great, as usual. It is so much fun, crazy and reaching and referring to so many directions and issues and traditions. I just love working with her and I really do hope that audiences will find the work and pick up all the contradicting statements we make in it. And I hope they will forgive me my all but perfect figure! No matter how hard I practice ashtanga, it just stays the same…
But I’m not letting my body, my weight, my intelligence, my financial situation or my age to stop me. It’s all going to be out there and it is only through them, that I can resist, contradict and point out the issues I, we want.

I’ll be waiting for your congratulations and flowers and other possible gifts. You know how to reach me.

Johanna

Can a feminist give a vote to a man?

That was the question of the day.

After cleaning up the flat in the morning, I went with the kids to the market place and Café Burts where the kick off of the campaign of the Greens was held. The general election is going to be held in March and in the region of North Savo we have a very exciting possibility to get a first Green representative to the national parliament. Our candidate Raimo Tuomainen is a wonderful person; he’s an academic who, at the same time, is very down to earth and easy to approach. He has been involved in the Greens for a long time but this is the first time he has stepped from the background to the spot light. And I’m very pleased he did. I myself was a candidate in the general election four years ago, and was asked last year again but I said no. And I’m so happy I said no and stuck to my point although many tried to talk me over. Raimo is so much better candidate than I ever would have been!
Raimo talked beautifully today about celebrating fatherhood, about new fatherhood and how much men are missing by working too hard when the children are young and how men are sometimes completely set aside from their families. I also think that he is a very good person to promote equality between the genders. With Mari Puoskari (a candidate in Helsinki who is also the chairwoman of Green Women whose board member I was 2005-2006) Raimo shared views about women’s euro (=80cents) and the glass roof women run against during their carriers.
But it’s not only equality that is important to Raimo. He also values highly art and culture.
So I think it’s better to vote a man who is aware of the gender inequalities than a woman who thinks all professional success is up to the individual’s talent and effort, no matter what you have between your legs.

So today was a confirmation for me. I’m not going to hesitate to give my vote to a man.

Working

Artistic work can be really tiring and usually is for me. We have been working 5-6 hours a day with Jaana, and although we don’t really do anything physically outrageously demanding, I’m pretty nackered at the end of the day. We have been doing short asana practices at the beginning of each rehearsal to focus on the body, to connect with the actual state, to tune in and to get the energy flowing in the body. The practice is really useful as it reveals so well the physical, emotional and spiritual state you are in, even if your mind doesn’t necessarily want to acknowledge or accept it. I’ve had severe sciatic nerve pain in my pelvis area and right leg and my hamstrings have been a bit sore. So my practice has been very light and short. But it feels good to stick to it.
We’ve also talked a lot. About the body, female body, femininity, appearance, gender, gender trouble and Judith Butler (whose sister is a dancer, by the way), sexuality, normativity, emotionality, acceptable behaviour, about screaming and shouting, female anger, family, being a mother, a parent and a partner, and how the whole culture around dance has traumatised us and our relationships to our bodies for life.
Each nuance might not be visible in the upcoming work, but they sure are present in our bodies and discourses. Jaana talked today about how the body emits and radiates information that one can’t control which I thought was very beautiful and interesting.
We have been working on these scenes in which we dress, undress, dress, undress, dress, undress for ages. There’s stuff I feel is kind of self-humiliating but at the same time important to show and to do. We also want to demonstrate how clothes and overall appearance changes the way you look at someone, your gaze, and the direction of your sexual desire which is related to power. And what is culturally un/acceptable. It’s really interesting and so much fun!
We have been desperate about finding a performance space. Today we went to Nina to see if their space could work for the performance but it didn’t feel right. Jaana found a very beautiful top (245 €) by Anne Linnomaa, though (she did’t buy it). Then we walked to this new gallery Carree on Kauppakatu and it instantly felt like it could be our space. The owner Kirsti Carlenius was very nice and we also met her son Sampo, and it turned out we shared quite a few connections and networks. They had an exhibition on show by Kari Södö, who has composed the music to my early solo piece Enchanting Horizon (1999) and it turned out, that Kirsti is also from Hailuoto, the island where my parents live and where I grew up between 1980 – 1989. So we both know for example artist Anni Rapinoja whose daughter was my very best friend.
So let’s see what exhibition they’ll have on in March and hope we could fit in to the beautiful space!
We are going to work through the whole weekend. I’ll keep you posted.
Johanna