Sera Waters, Survivalist Sampler, 2019-20, 42cm (W) x 45cm (H), cotton, glow-in-the-dark thread, found materials on repurposed linen, Photograph Grant Hancock; Artist represented by Hugo Michell Gallery. (detail)
Respect! (Just a little bit): Arts, Activisms and All Bodies’ Rights
18-19 April 2024
In Re-enchanting the World. Feminism and the Politics of the Commons (2019) Silvia Federici argues that in Latin America women’s activism is the main force of social change. Other massive mobilisations across the globe in support of bodily rights demonstrate that women are the main protagonists in social struggles because their everyday lives are most affected by unequal and violent neoliberal and late-capitalist politics distributing resources unevenly and favouring the rights of some bodies over others. Increasingly, artistic practices transgress the boundary of socially engaged arts, to actively support and engage in social change that de-centres subject positionings grounded in what has been conceptualised as the Anthropocene. Increasingly, activism serves not only to protect lives but also to make lives survivable at times when human activity has profoundly and irreversibly disrupted the ecosystem and the services it provides, including water, food or shelter.
This Forum addresses the triangulation in-between the arts, activisms and bodily rights to question and imagine a communal future equal for all bodies, human, non-human and other-than-human. It interrogates the diverse historical and cultural trajectories challenged via visual activist practices which at their heart are driven by the desire to abolish exploitation and anthropocentric positionings. It is choreographed via a constellation of concepts borrowed from bell hooks’s proposal, who in Love as the Practice of Freedom (1994) suggests that, ‘Love is a combination of six ingredients: care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust.’ These ingredients inspire the diverse conceptual approaches and the formats the Forum will imagine. hooks’ conception of love is grounded in healing as a growing-up process which enables us to move against domination.