Dissident feminist artistic interventionist positions
Until now I have discussed two main points in this article connected with the title: First, what we understand as dissident feminisms, and second, how dissident feminisms intervene in history in general and the histories of feminism in particular. In what follows I will present a few dissident feminist artistic interventionist positions. The main aim of artistic interventionist strategies is to change the conditions of art, and the social, political, and economic realities at a historical moment in which these art practices take place. These artistic strategies intervene in order to effect social change and produce a demarcation within a certain space and public realm. My thesis is that it is possible to distinguish at least two lines that are in some cases parallel, or in other situations cross each other:
The first line of dissident feminist artistic interventions is marked by those positions that “escape from the academia to flourish in audiovisual production, literary, and performative action spaces” (Preciado 2013: 252). (*8) As such, the purpose of these queer-feminist projects “would not be so much to liberate women or get legal equality, but the dismantling of the political devices producing differences of class, race, gender and sexuality, thereby creating transfeminism art and action networks for decolonization politics” (Preciado 2013: 252). (*8) The artists and their interventionist practices in the field of dissident feminisms seen in such a view are those connected with postporn strategies, as Preciado states:
(We) have a history going from the feminist kitsch porn movies of Annie Sprinkle, the docu-fiction by Monika Treut, literary works by Virginie Despentes, Dorothy Allison and Michelle Tea, Alison Bechdel’s lesbian comics, photographs by Del LaGrace Volcano, dyke punk rock concerts by Tribe8, to the Gothic Revival sermons of Lydia Lunch, and the transgender porn science fiction of Shue-Lea Cheang, feminist postporn … aesthetics made of traffic signs and cultural artifacts with the critical redefinition of code standards that traditional feminism considered improper for femininity. Some of the references of this aesthetic and political discourse are queer-horror-porn movies of Bruce La Bruce and Christopher Lee, the distortion of sex shops of Maria Llopis, PostOp or Orgy, queer-Gothic literature, dildos as instruments of tectonic redefinition of the sexed body, trans-sexual vampires and monsters, cyborgs living queer punk, performance in public space as a useful political intervention … Sex was never so crude and gender has never been so cooked. (Preciado 2013: 252) (*8)
The second line of dissident feminist artistic interventions that I want to propose is associated even more precisely with non-white feminists and activists who work directly with antiracism as well as post-colonial and decolonial positions. I make reference to names cited by Caixeta as critical positions by migrant women and Black women, such as Katharina Oguntoye*1 *(1), May Ayim, FeMigra*2 *(2), Lale Otyakmaz,*3 *(3) and Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez*4 *(4). An important framework of reference for this development is the critique from Women of Color in the U.S. in the 1980s, including Combahee River Collective,*5 *(5) Cherríe L. Moraga, Gloria Anzaldúa,*6 *(6) bell hooks,*7 *(7) and Angela Davis.*8 *(8) And I add to these names María Lugones, Gayatri Spivak,*9 *(9) and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. And last but not least, artists in Austria working in maiz. Autonomous Center of and for Migrant Women in Linz, especially Marissa Lôbo, as well as The Research Group on Black Austrian History and Presence / Pamoja from Vienna and their members Araba Evelyn Johnston-Arthur, Belinda Kazeem, and Njideka Stephanie Iroh, among others.