Martynka Wawrzyniak at Envoy Enterprises: The Consumptive Gaze — Heather Saunders

Martynka Wawrzyniak at Envoy Enterprises: The Consumptive Gaze

 

Well before literature popularized the approach of doing something radical for a year (living Biblically, cooking Julia Child’s recipes, etc.), there was Taiwanese, New York-based performance artist, Tehching Hsieh. In the 1970s and 1980s, he made five one-year performances, such as being tied to another artist with an 8-foot rope but never touching. An excerpt from the statement for his inaugural performance, in which he went into solitary confinement in a small room for twelve months, reads, “I shall have food every day.”

 

Fast forward to 2013, when Martynka Wawrzyniak began recording what she ate every day for a year. Wawrzyniak, who was born the year Hsieh’s first year-long performance wrapped up, is a New York-based Polish artist represented by Envoy Enterprises. In Feed (September 7–October 12), her fourth solo exhibition at the Lower East Side gallery in New York, she exhibited the documentation of her diet.

 

The burden of conceptual art is that it begs the question, “Is this art?” For instance, if I weren’t an artist, I might protest that I once recorded what I ate for a year to pin down food allergies, while an artist friend keeps similar records to ensure she allows three days between consuming the same ingredient, to keep old food intolerances at bay. The difference is that for Wawrzyniak, food is fodder for art:  installation, sculpture, two-dimensional work, and a bookwork comprised the show. The latter, displayed at the entrance of the gallery, contained photographs of the white cloth napkins she used to wipe her mouth after each dinner, paired with a list of ingredients. I actually wretched when I read in the press release that it was billed as an unconventional cookbook. However, displayed as it was—open to a random page—it read more as neutral, innocuous photographic documentation of the napkins that were stitched into an installation nearby. The cloth gloves beside the book acted as a link to archives and in turn, the documentary impulse. The dinner napkins, save for their stains, are identical, meaning that the artist used them rather than restaurant linens when she ate out. Granted, archiving in the traditional sense (where materials accumulate organically from actual use, as opposed to a collection being created purposefully) would have involved stealing napkins and contending with mismatched linens. Ultimately, it means that form was privileged over authenticity, throwing a wrench in the project of documentation. At the same time, Wawrzyniak tapped into the au courant tendency to post culinary images on social media, which is all about contrivance…and oversharing.

 

There was a definite push/pull experience in the show. The aforementioned napkins, which were stitched together and hung floor to ceiling in a spiral formation, are white—as are the framed paper napkins used to wipe her mouth after ingesting a daily green energy drink. Both arguably symbolize cleanliness or purity in Western culture. Yet the paper napkins hung in calendar formation—doubling as a modernist grid—resemble toilet paper, with their mossy green smears  marking a point in the digestive process. The hanging napkins, meanwhile, are somewhat free-flowing and the breeze of passersby could probably make what amounts to dirty laundry come uncomfortably close to the viewer.

 

I’m unsure whether I was supposed to walk through the spiral, but there was no sign of gallery staff to advise. It made for a surreal experience, as if I were intruding in someone’s personal experience. Evidently, the experience was intended to be social, as the artist describes her sharing of this body of work as functioning like a daily dinner party. The smears repelled more than enticed, though, compromising the reciprocation of enthusiasm. There was also no hint of the social experience at the time any of these meals were eaten. There was no indication of whether these meals were consumed alone, on dates, with friends, or at a rapid clip after feeding offspring. I did not perceive the frenzy of, say, artist Mary Kelly trying to make sense of parenting as she documented the development of her son, complete with stained nappies as art-artifacts. Food can be a deeply personal experience (or the expression ‘you are what you eat’ wouldn’t exist, nor would Margaret Atwood’s 1969 novel about food aversion, The Edible Woman) but the motivation for Wawrzyniak’s year-long endeavour remains elusive.

 

Where the personal did seem to creep in was in the two sculptures. Casts of the inside of her mouth and the outside of her abdomen in edible materials relate conceptually to her previous exhibition, Smell Me (2012), which culminated in the recent marketing of perfume of her own scent with nude advertising in Harper’s Bazaar. However, the sculptures don’t actually look good enough to eat, which, for me personally, shut down the consumptive gaze. I find myself wondering where they take the viewer that artists like Janine Antoni and Hannah Wilke haven’t already taken them with their chocolate busts of women. And where does Feed take the viewer overall that Tehching Hsieh didn’t already take them conceptually with a single line of text?

 

For images, please see http://www.envoyenterprises.com/#wawrzyniak

FEMINIST FILM FESTIVAL Sept 26-Oct 24 Five Fridays in the Fall

FEMINIST FILM FESTIVAL NYC
FIVE FRIDAYS THIS FALL

Joy of Resistance is thrilled to announce that we will be presenting the FIRST EVER Feminist Film Festival at WBAI! It will take place on five consecutive Fridays this Fall, starting on September 26 and running through October 24 (Sept. 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24).

We’ll present “feminist classics”–the defining feminist films of many eras–and some of the directors will be present in person or via Skype. We’ll also show rare documentary shorts, feminist comedy, and have some live performance.

Showings will take place at “The Commons,” at 388 Atlantic Avenue.

Doors will open at 6:00 PM for short films, with main features starting at 7:30 PM.

This is a benefit for WBAI: Suggested donation is $20, but a sliding scale of $10-20. will be in effect. Wine and popcorn will be available.

If you sign up to become a WBAI Buddy, between now and September 24, we’ll give you a free pass to all five evenings of the festival. Your name will be at the door. Sign up at: https://www.wbai.org/baibuddy.php.

For further information and to get emails about the specific films to be shown on each night of the festival, email feministfilmfest@gmail.com or go to joyofresistance.wordpress.com.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE (check back for newly added releases):

Sept. 26, Jennifer Lee’s 2013 release “Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation” (http://www.feministstories.com/film-clips) , getting rave reviews as it is shown across the country, with the Director to speak to us via Skype. Includes Betty Friedan’s last interview, the “Women of the World Unite” banner being placed on the Statue of Liberty in 1970, SNCC & feminism and much more. Followed by Bev Grant’s ‘Up Against the Wall, Miss America!’ (http://www.give2wbai.org/product_p/od0656.htm), documentary short of the Miss America Pageant Protest of 1968 (where women are rumored to have burnt their bras!). Bev Grant will join us in person to discuss the film.

October 3. “With a Vengeance: The Fight for Reproductive Freedom” by Lori Hiris (1989)http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c149.shtml)–a gutsy fast-moving film influenced by 60′s Avant-Garde cinema (Emile D’Antonio), shows history of abortion in this country, jump-cutting between movement pioneers, clashes with the Right, an early meeting of Black women formulating what would become “the reproductive justice movement” and much more. Cameo appearance by the great Flo Kennedy. “I Had an Abortion” (http://www.jenniferbaumgardner.net/i-had-an-abortion) by Jennifer Baumgardner and Jillian Aldrich. From a “celebrity feminist” to an 85 yr. old Harlem woman who tells what it was like in the 1930′s, women of many ages and communities tell their personal stories about abortion.

October 10th. An evening in Celebration of Indigenous People’s/Columbus Day. We’ll present “Salt of the Earth” (1954) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_of_the_Earth) a feature-length movie that was banned by the House-of Un-American-Activities Committee, about a strike by Mexican workers–within which women rebel against their husbands to participate in the strike. Then “La Operacion” (http://www.filmandhistory.org/documentary/women/operacion.php) by Ana Maria Garcia–the documentary that broke open the scandal that a third of Puerto Rican women had been sterilized in the 1950s/60′s because of U.S. population control policies. Films will be followed a LIVE PERFORMANCE by the Indigenous Women’s singing/spoken word group Mahina Movement! (https://www.facebook.com/mahinamovementcommunity) (Plus films TBA.)

October 17: Lizzie Borden’s cult classic “Born in Flames”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_Flames). A sci-fi journey into a post-revolutionary New York City where a Women’s Army, led by Black women, has formed to fully bring women into the revolution. With Flo Kennedy in a featured role! Must see!

October 24: Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker, (http://www.icarusfilms.com/cat97/f-j/fundi45.html) Joanne Grant’s brilliant film on the not-well-enough-known woman behind many of the great campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Features Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Ella’s Song.” Sweet Honey in the Rock/Raise Your Voice! (http://www.whyy.org/community/sweethoney.html) Stanley Nelson’s award winning exploration of the world-acclaimed a capella singing goup will have you singing as you leave. (Plus films TBA.)

All screenings will take place at at 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 1st Floor (between Hoyt and Bond streets–A, C or G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn/#2 or 3 to Hoyt Street).

9 Practical Leadership Power Tools to Advance Your Career

Book Review: Box Girl by Lillibet Snellings — by Heather Saunders

Book Review: Box Girl by Lillibet Snellings

Lillibet Snellings once had a job as unique as her name: for three years in a West Hollywood hotel lobby, she was one of the scantily clad women who lounged in a transparent box for four to seven hours as eye candy. ‘Lounge’ is actually misleading, since all the positions caused discomfort (she provides a hilarious description of the many options, such as the Nutcracker, which was devised to mask the fact that she was menstruating). The project, which began in 1998, is billed as an art installation, and within the box, the Box Girl is surrounded by installations that change monthly, such as pesky paper airplanes that fly into her face, thanks to a fan.

 

Snellings recounts her experiences in Box Girl: My Part-time Job as an Art Installation (2014, Soft Skull Press). Some chapters are as short as a single sentence, and they appear out of chronological order, making it what she calls a hybrid of sorts. Her interview for the Standard Hotel, for instance, occurs half-way through the book. She makes quite a few diversions from the act of being in the box, and though it seems like stream of consciousness, she consistently brings the content back to being a girl on display.

 

People’s reactions run the gamut, but the most startling to the author is a man asking if she is for sale. Experiences like these lead to feminist commentary broaching serious subject matter—such as comparisons to Hooters, a Playboy Club, and Amsterdam’s Red Light District—but never at the expense of her lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek writing style. When she inquires about the background of the box, she learns that it is a man who is responsible for the Standard Hotel’s design concepts. She quips, “Of course he is a man. This manufactured reality could only be hatched from the head of a man. Men like to think that women lie around on their living room floors wearing itty-bitty white shorts and tiny white tank tops, always looking pretty, never making a mess” (p. 81). That is the extent of the rant. Her biography brings the theory of art historian/author John Berger to life without dwelling on theory, which makes the book great leisure reading. Although she touches on feminism throughout, she doesn’t take a firm stand. To her question, “Am I a piece of art or a piece of ass?” (p. 220), she concludes maybe neither, or maybe both. What matters to her is that she feels empowered.

 

In this coming of age tale, Snellings describes her transition from English graduate to the real world, cobbling together internships and freelancing in her field with a variety of LA-type jobs like part-time model and actor. Even though she moved across the country from Connecticut with friends and is essentially on her own, her attachment to her family is undeniable. Her parents, who are bewildered by her hotel gig, are polar opposites and even when she writes about them with frustration, her underlying love is clear.

 

In spite of brushes with fame that come with the territory, Snellings’ focus is on her many foibles. She writes with the flare of Helen Fielding, she of Bridget Jones fame, though with more introspection. From crying in the box on Valentine’s Day, to getting an asymmetrical mullet in a hair show, to having a photo of herself rejected from a magazine featuring a spread on ‘real people,’ she channels Jones’ goofiness and bad luck. Also reminiscent of Fielding’s protagonist is her  love of wine and her obsession with her weight (case in point: she beams when an onlooker questions whether or not she is real, since mannequins do not have cellulite). Snellings’ self-deprecation would be more convincing if her bio photo didn’t reveal that by all accounts, she is beautiful. To her credit, Snellings reveals that it’s all relative, living as she does in the capital of models and celebrities.

 

Interspersed with the ‘OMG, I can’t believe this is my life’ track are astute observations about culture. For instance, Snellings draws parallels between the voyeurism and artifice of the Box Girls and 2.0 culture. And the few art references she includes are spot on, like connecting Manet’s Olympia to the fact that eye contact is verboten for Box Girls, or seeing Box Girls as performance artists in the spirit of Marina Abramovic. There are witticisms throughout, but blink and you could miss them, because she doesn’t draw them out, instead maximizing punchiness. I can’t shake the feeling that the sparing revelation of her intellect combined with her comical self-deprecation reflects the message women have been given historically: that they shouldn’t appear too smart. Nonetheless, Box Girl: My Part-time Job as an Art Installation is highly recommended.

 

 

Cover courtesy of Soft Skull Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLPP’s annual Conference April 10-12 2015: From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom!

 

It’s that time of year again—time to submit a proposal to present your work at CLPP’s annual conference, From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom!

For over 30 years, CLPP has been working to realize a world in which all people have the economic, social, and political power necessary to make healthy decisions about our bodies, families, sexuality, and reproduction. Our annual conference brings together activists and academics from across the U.S. and the world to share ideas and information, inspiring and supporting thought, reflection, growth, and collaboration across communities and generations. We know that you are engaged in amazing organizing, movement building, scholarship, and activism around reproductive justice in your community and we want to hear about it!

I hope you’ll check out our Call for Proposals and think about sharing your work with us this April 10-12 in Amherst, MA. Is there a training or conversation about reproductive justice that you want to lead? Are you involved in media-making for social change that you want to share? Do you want to share strategies for grassroots organizing? Let us know about your current activism, your expertise and experiences, and what you can contribute to the conference!

Join us in our planning process by submitting a proposal for a presentation, interactive workshop, or strategic action session. The deadline for proposals is September 26th.

We can’t wait to hear about your reproductive justice activism, organizing, and research. Please tell your friends and fellow activists about the call, and save the date for next year’s conference:

From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom
29th annual conference for student and community activists
April 10-12, 2015
Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Lucy Trainor
Assistant Director

 

Support Our Work. Donate Now.

Register for The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute’s Six-Week Group for Eating and Body Image Problems. BEGINS SEP 23

212-721-7005  /  wtcinyc@mac.comwww.wtci-nyc.org

NEW 6 week group for the public begins September 23
Registration is currently available for The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute’s September, 2014

Six-Week Group for Eating and Body Image Problems.  

Beginning on Tuesday, September 24th, sessions will be held from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at Fifth Avenue and 11th Street. Christina Clark, LCSW, will facilitate this group. The fee for all six sessions is $275.

The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute (WTCI) is renowned for its pioneering work on women’s relationship to food, feeding, and their bodies. Since the publication of Susie Orbach’s Fat Is A Feminist Issue (1978), the faculty of The WTCI has further developed a theory and practice of working with the full range of eating problems, explicated in Eating Problems: A Feminist Psychoanalytic Treatment Model (1994). We have found that our unique six-week groups can be a powerful tool for women as they journey toward a place of peace in their relationship with food and their bodies. (Please read below for a more detailed description of the group model.)

Groups are facilitated regularly in various locations in and around New York City throughout the year.

To obtain further information about our groups please visit our website www.wtci-nyc.org, or call Joanne Messina, LCSW at (212) 501-6033. To register, click HERE. We encourage early registration, as groups can fill up quickly!

Six-Week Groups for

Eating and Body Image Problems

 

In a therapist-led supportive environment, participants in our six-week groups are introduced to the process of relating more comfortably to food and one’s body. The diet culture has caused most women to become disconnected from their innate ability to feed themselves in accordance with bodily appetite and in a way that is emotionally nourishing, as well as physiologically and psychologically organizing and sustainable. Our six-week groups help women rediscover this lost relationship with their bodies and needs. Because we regard all eating problems as expressive of the emotional and social struggles women experience, these groups are designed to work effectively with the continuum of problematic eating, from compulsive and binge eating, to anorexia, bulimia, and chronic dieting. Our groups are open to women of all colors, sizes, sexual orientations and identities. Our only requirement for participation is an interest in developing a more harmonious relationship with food and one’s body.

Our six-week groups combine psychoeducational and psychodynamic elements to give women the tools and insights they will need to begin to understand, heal, and transform their relationship with food and their bodies. Exploration, fantasy exercises, and homework assignments are utilized in each phase of the group to encourage participants to personalize and internalize the group experience.

The group begins with an introduction to our ”self-attuned” model of eating, which is anti-diet and mindfulness based. Participants are helped to use this model to eat with their hunger and to stop at fullness, while examining why they might feel compelled to eat at times when they are not physically hungry and/or to restrict their eating during times when they are. The group also attends to the complex emotional experience of satiety/fullness and how one can begin to register satisfaction and bodily limits in the eating experience with increased ease and security. The self-attuned model introduces curiosity and compassion as alternatives to the punitive and restrictive methods women typically employ in their efforts to change their relationships with food and their bodies.

Next, the group focuses on legalizing all foods and eliminating dichotomous thinking about food, such as good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, or permitted and forbidden food groups. Finally, the group addresses issues of body image and embodiment, including the symbolic meaning of fat and thin and how one’s ideas about and experiences of one’s body function  psychologically, interpersonally, and culturally.

All phases of the group’s work are informed by a psychodynamic perspective and by the conscious and explicitly articulated awareness that we live in a culture that encourages women to live in disharmony with their bodies and that, for most, an embodied life requires an active choice to resist cultural norms.

To obtain further information about our groups visit our website, or call Joanne Messina, LCSW at (212) 501-6033. To register, click HERE 

 

Registration is very limited for our groups and workshops, and an event will be closed if over-enrolled and canceled if under-enrolled; please register early.

May 13: V-Day Congo Director & Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver, in conversation with Eve Ensler

On Tuesday, May 13, V-Day and ABC Home are so proud to present a new RISE4JUSTICE event with V-Day Congo Director & Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver, in conversation with Eve Ensler.Join us as we discuss the City of Joy, including new programing, the V-World Farm, and an update about the fifth graduating class! Hear directly from Christine about what is happening in the DRC, the issue of violence against women in the region, and what women and men on the ground are doing to end it.

V-DAY HAS A SELECT AMOUNT OF $10 ACTIVIST TICKETS AVAILABLE!
Simply email RSVP@VDAY.ORG with your name and number of tickets you require.

WHAT: V-Day Congo Director & Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver, in conversation with Eve Ensler
WHEN: Doors at 6pm, event from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
WHERE: Deepak Homebase at ABC Carpet & Home
888 Broadway at East 19th Street, NYC
TICKETS: $10 Activist Tickets – email rsvp@vday.org

100% of proceeds will go to the City of Joy in Bukavu, DRC

‘Maison des Reves’ at Planet Connections Festivity

In 1909 Samara, Russia, Alexe Popova confessed to killing over 300 men to ‘liberate’ the women of her community from their abusive husbands.  She fought the War on Women in her own way, with a little lethal poison!  Based on this true story, Talie Melnyk’s solo show, ‘Maison des Reves’ plays at Paradise Factory in this year’s Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, New York City’s eco friendly/socially conscious not-for-profit festival.

 

Wednesday, 5/21 @ 7pm

Friday, 5/23 @ 7pm

Saturday, 5/24 @ 4pm

 

Paradise Factory

Downstairs Theatre

64 E 4th St. (b Bowery & 2nd Ave.)

New York, NY  10003

 

For tix visit: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/933526

 

For more info:

www.planetconnections.org

www.taliemelnyk.com

twitter @MTalie

tweet #MaisondesReves

 

What’s Developing in a World in Crisis? Holzman/Salit @ NYU

What’s Developing in a World in Crisis? 

Meet Some of the Innovators 
on the Front Lines of Development

A conversation with Lois Holzman & Jacqueline Salit

Friday, June 6, 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

NYU School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Classroom 220

40 Washington Square S. (betw. Macdougal & Sullivan Sts.)

Fee: $45; $25 Retired/Student/Unemployed

(Early registration $40; Retired/Student/Low Income $20)

Amidst the global culture of revolution and counterrevolution, ethnic and religious battles, natural disasters, poverty and growing disparities in wealth that impact us all, nations and communities face pressing human development challenges. Many are trying to identify and meet these needs, some with old and tired tools and some with new and innovative ones. Don’t miss this conversation with Lois Holzman, director of the East Side Institute and founder of Performing the World, and Jacqueline S. Salit, president of IndependentVoting.org, as they introduce and discuss the work of an array of performance activists and play revolutionaries from Japan to Uganda – who are experimenting with cultural-performatory approaches to human development.
Their presentation will include documentary video reports from these “developmentalists” sharing the on-the-ground struggles, joys, disappointments and discoveries that come with supporting people to transform.