not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Thursday, June 17, 2004

where was I . . . oh yes, space . . . well I have a fwe stories before I get to the idiology of space. I went to this workshop done by a philopeano women who is an activist and a drama teacher. She did a brief history of artistic performance during political actions in the philopeans. and she thought us about this popular play that happen in protests now called something like dola dola. It is a short 1-2 min performance with no props or money required, it usually is created last min and only performed once. It is a single issue performace to make a political satire of a current issue. The way it works is that 3 people are performing silently, and two people are saying the dialogue and making sound effects. This plays follow the same narrative with different issue, there for all you have to do is plug in the new issue and create a brand new play. We broke into groups and came up with an issue, a narrative, dialgogue and performance . . . then we presented it back to the larger group. Our group were talking about space and street harasment. We understand that the issue of domination of space and harassment is not a simple man towards women issue. yet it seems to be an issue of masculinity and domination. wether this is a women how has taken on the dominant masculine role and is treating those around her with little respect, or men who harass or dominant space and conversation over less 'masculine' males. But the instrucotr said we had to make it simple, sigular issue and not complicate it with details. SO we stuck to males harrassing women on the street.

The name of our group was FUSK ┬┤MDIPS. We did our skit in a commercial style. It read: Are you tried ot wasting your energy shouting and getting angry at harassers? Are you tierd of coming up with the perfect comeback five mins later? (singing lingo fuck ┬┤mdips!) What you need is FUSK `MDIPS, Feminist urban survival kits against male domination in public space. (singing lingo fuck `mdips!) and so on . . . mean while we had women walking around and pulling out cards that read things like 'fuck you don't waste my time' 'you ugly fucker leave me alone' and so on . . .

everyone laughed and clapped . . . good times I say.

Throughout the week the idea of space was on everyones mind. First of all the idea of ladyfest is that it is orgnaized by those who identify as women and the gigs are open to all genders. the space that is trying to be created is one of anti-hierchies, anti-oppression and a creative positive space for women adn queers to feel that the pit adn the puck scene is theres. There is a hope of creation of community and solidarity among the women who are claiming the punk ethic of DIY and using feminism to allow for teh displaying of womens tallents and womens participation in some male dominated enviroments.

several strategies are used to create this safe space, these include flyers askign you to think about space and gender adn how you relate to people and interact with people based on size and gender. Another is banners around the venues that have pictures and slogens that follow the ladyfest ideals. And another still that is problimatic is restricting some of the workshops to women or women and trans people. Actually they seperated women and lesbians as two seperate catigories, but I ahve bitched about this already. (I talked to a few people and found out the reason for this but am not satisfied with the responce. It was something like women is seen as a catigory opposite to men and lesbians are not in the oppostion so are labeled as a different gender. well I say fuck that since when do we want to reinforce the bianaries of men and women, just because a person is only sexually attracted to men does not make them nessissarliy a stereotyical women and does not make them opposite to a stable catigory of men. If we are really giong to be deconstructing gender and believing about teh performative nature of gender then this idea is obsurd.)

Since I'm here i mise well delve right into the problems I see with exclusion of men at some of the workshops. This idea will blend into male domination of space at shows aswell. I understand compleately about the idea of safe spaces and the importance of women identified only spaces. the pussy palace for example is one of these spaces, and to take a less drastic example I can be simpathitic to the idea that a workshop on drums may want to not have men at it since drums tends to be a male dominated skill and often women do not have an opportunity to try out such an instrument (how amny people just have drum sets sitting around, really I want to know since I would love to paly drums but never have a chance to try them out!) Now when it comes to workshops such as talking whiteness I think that we need to break down thsi idea that women can only feel free to talk in women only spaces. One of the main ideas of creating these ladyfest spaces is to sustainably alter the spaces that we were in, not just in the phyche of the women who attend the event but for everyone on a much wider scale. So when a guy is taking up to much space in the pit and standing in front of so many smaller people it is wiser to have banners that he can constantly see and ask him to move or respect the space of the others around him. He is more likely to respond positivily to that and possibly think about the space he takes up in the future then if you exclude him from the event or kick him out.

The same applies to this talks and workshops. In the talking whiteness workshop for example we coudl have benifited from having more diverse experiences there and men coudl have benifitted from the talk. The fear I believe is that converstion will be dominated by men. This is not an irrational fear since it does tend to be men who are the dominant ones in workshops and talks, but we all know that gender fluidity plays a part here and not all men are like this and yes women can be dominant and inconsiderate aswell. SO waht i feel needs to be done is to have strong women as facilitators at talks, womeone who will say at the beginning that we need to respect people who are speaking, that we cannot cut people off, for people to think about how mcuh they have spoken and allow others who have not spoken as much to do so. Then you need this strong facilator to be good about sticking to these ideas, so either when a women or man does start to dominate, she will be able to ask them to stop and allow someone else to speak.

ok thats my rant on space for the moment.

Monday, June 14, 2004

ladyfest wien is now over, it was intense, great fun and well educational, that is I learnt allot about how to organize an event like it, which will come in handy for the one we are having in dublin. I went to tons of workshops, one called posse! performative politics and art, talking whitness, revolution girl style now!, philopenno political art . . . the two performative art workshops were great and I dedicated lots of energy to them. For example the posse! one I went to three days in a row, talked theory, came up with ideas for actions, created stencils, went spraypainting, created t-shirts and did an action at a political talk for the freedom party (basically a nazi party) and the other poliical art workshop we learnt about a popular form of street theater that for political propaganda and we create a short skit.

The final discussion yesterday brought up issues for the space, the orgnaizing, the bands, workshops, films etc, basically everything that happen at ladyfest. The main issue that came up was this idea of space. How to creat a safe space, how to transform the spaces you are in, how to deal with those who are not respecting the space, or are dominating space.

my internet time is running out, marikes computer broke yesterday so my internet addiction has taken a new level of cash, so I hav eto go and finish later.