SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

7th Exercise with Magdalena Górska and Deborah Ligorio


May 27, 2017 | 7 pm

Free entrance - donations welcome


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"Breathing is also an event of bringing the outside in and the inside out. As a continuous metabolism of air in the movement through the lungs; in the ow of oxygen through the veins, organs and cells; and in the exhalation that lets the breath out, breathing opens the horizon of what it means to be a human breathing subject beyond conventional boundaries of human embodiment.” Magdalena Gorska, Breathing Matters: Feminist Intersectional Politics of Vulnerability.

How does the world breathe? How do we breathe? Can breathing become a feminist practice? Through a collective and participatory experiment in embodying theoretical configurations through breathing exercises and techniques of body-awareness, scholar Magdalena Górska and artist Deborah Ligorio look at the politics of breathing, and consider the possibility of developing breathable feminist politics through engagements with breathing enacted in different kinds of vulnerable lives.

Magdalena Górska is the author of the book Breathing Matters: Feminist Intersectional Politics of Vulnerability. She is assistant Professor at the Graduate Gender Program, Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. She holds doctorate in philosophy from the Department of Thematic Studies – Gender Studies at Linköping University, and developed her passion for feminist theory and politics at the Department of Gender Studies at Charles University. In 2012-13 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. Magdalena’s research develops a non-universalizing and politicized understanding of embodiment where human bodies are conceptualized as agential actors of intersectional politics. She is founder of the Breathing Matters Network.

Deborah Ligorio is an artist based in Berlin. Her current research brings together technological, ecological and feminist thinking. She is the editor of Survival Kits, published by Sternberg Press in 2013, and founder of the online platforms [The Eponym] (2014) and DadaAda(2015). She was awarded the 15th Quadrenniale di Roma Young Art Prize (2008), and the Special Prize GAI - Italre Italian Studies for PS1 MoMA (2004). International residencies include: (2003) MAK Schindler, Los Angeles. (1998) OMI International Arts Center, New York. She has participated in Manifesta7, and Sharjah Biennial 8.


SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

6th Exercise with NOMEN | Unfree: Racialized Bodies in the European Neocolony

May 2, 2017 | 4-8 pm

Free entrance - donations welcome


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In this exercise day, the NOMEN Collective unpacks the notion of neutral bodies in the public sphere by exemplifying racialization in the European Neocolony through three different lab talks and one art performance. European debates around women’s bodies have brought once again to the fore how certain religious bodies are reinscribed as unfree in the secular public sphere; it has also reproduced the racialized female body as a problem that needs further regulation, disciplining and policing. Activists on both sides have contended, that the existence of the (religious) female body is either a matter of choice or of oppression. NOMEN aims at complicating the discourse by demonstrating that an alleged neutralization of bodies is actually marking certain bodies as too religious, too violent, too particular and as deserving to be excluded.

NOMEN Collective will take up certain sentiments, emotions, and sensibilities of racialized knowledge-production, religious positioning, intra-communal struggle as always already complicated by the neocolonial gaze. While we agree, that there is no neutral body, that all bodies are produced and made productive through subjugation and discursive webs of power, we want to highlight the phenomenon of racialization that confines certain bodies in their political agency and fail the promise of political equality. The notion of the neocolonial is important in pointing out, how certain power asymmetries in Europe have older genealogies, but come in a new disguise not by simply exercising brute power or change of political structure, but by turning older colonial questions into questions of culture and cultural normativity onto old and new minority subjects.

We contend that the colony is here and now. Further, that it holds untamed subjects and their performing bodies. We will explore in this exercise, what certain body formations hold and what they foreclose. The event will have four parts each opened by one NOMEN Collective founding member with a personal story.

#1 How secularism structures racial and religious bodies - Or how I was barred from speaking about this | Sultan Doughan

This lab deals with the notion of neutrality in speaking and representing in public as a racially marked researcher. By taking the example of two cartoons from the Charlie Hebdo context, the talk will ask where the line is between race and religion, between satire and hate-speech and who is in charge to decide that.

#2 Male Religion and Female Freedom | Hannah Tzuberi

This lab discusses contemporary notions of the “religious”: How a sphere marked as “religious” is being identified, what kind of practices it is allowed to entail, and what happens to those, who do not comply.

#3 Colonized Narratives of Violence against Women of Colour | Armeghan Taheri

By means of storytelling, this lab critically examines how the Violence against Women-discourse perpetrates colonial narratives that become disempowering and limiting for women of colour affected by violence. It dismantles the reality that violence against women of color cannot be decontextualized from racism and classism.

#4 The Fluid Body on an Uneven Political Ground | Adi Liraz

Through a four-chapter-performance, Liraz will re-create a process of embodying history/ies and being alive as shaped and shifted by the colonial gaze of German and Israeli nationalisms, and will explore the inscribed past of previous generations of her family in her own body of existence, marking the connection between the personal and the collective.

NOMEN Collective for Ethical Art and Political Practice was established on March 2016 in Berlin. NOMEN aims at the creation of spaces, in which discursive boundaries are blurred through participation, reflection and disturbance. By creating this possibility we want to reframe social issues and claim a political and ethical citizenship. In our actions and general conduct, emotions play a key role. Emotions are not the irrational, embarrassing and private side of us, but rather the substance out of which our political and social concerns are made of. Relatedly, our bodies and the body are the central locus and the starting point to think about political issues. Although as NOMEN we seek to include all genders, sexualities and religions in order to generate political action, our aim is not to dissolve communal ties and religious particularities. Quite the contrary, we aim to demonstrate unresolvable particularity, unspeakable truth in order to generate a new ethical frame for marginalized forms of political and social life. NOMEN Collective is carried by six permanent members: Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Patricia Piberger, Nahed Samour, Armeghan Taheri, Hannah Tzuberi.

About the speakers:

Sultan Doughan is an anthropologist and writer based in Berlin for field research for her doctoral thesis. She engages with the question of citizenship, racialization and religious difference for Jewish and Muslim minorities in the field of historical-political education. Sultan is a founding member of the NOMEN Collective.

Adi Liraz is a multidisciplinary artist and curator. Liraz received a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and an MA from the Art Academy Berlin Weißensee (“Art in Public Context, Spatial Strategies”). She is part of the duo ExDress, member of the Association of Performance Art, Berlin and a founding member of NOMEN Collective. Her personal page is called

Armeghan Taheri holds a LL.M. degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in Human Rights and International Law. As a daughter of Afghan activists, she learned how to turn legacies of trauma, loss, survival and fight into intellectual knowledge. Armeghan is a founding member of the NOMEN Collective.

Hannah Tzuberi has a PhD in Jewish Studies and lives with her family in Berlin. She deals with secularism, religious practice and contemporary configurations of Jewishness in Germany. She is also a blogger: Hannah is a founding member of the NOMEN Collective.

*By using the words female or woman we refer to every person who identifies herself as such. The example in the talks, however, are based on persons who are read as women in public.

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SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

5th Exercise with a performance by Grada Kilomba: ILLUSIONS

April 21, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

(c) Moses Leo


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In this performance, Grada Kilomba brings the African oral tradition of story telling into a contemporary context, to recover the memories and realities of a postcolonial world. “It seems, we are still inhabiting the geographies of the past” insists the artist. To explore this coexistence of times, in which the past seems to coincide with the present; and the present seems suffocated by a colonial past, Kilomba stages the myths of Narcissus and Echo anew.

In the eyes of the artist, Narcissus becomes a metaphor for a society which has not resolved its colonial history, and takes itself and its own image as the only objects of love. Thus, Narcissus is enchanted by his own reflection on the surface of the lake. While Echo is reduced to endlessly repeating what she’s heard - the words of Narcissus. Kilomba questions, how do we break out of this colonial and patriarchal mould?

Playing with the illusion of a two layer scenario, Kilomba created a large scale silent film, in which the characters Narcissus and Echo move inside a white infinity, while the artist, outside and surrounded by an installation of microphones, becomes the contemporary ‘griot’ who retells these mythical stories with a postcolonial urgency.

Written and directed by Grada Kilomba

Performed by (in film and/or on stage) Martha Fessehatzion, Moses Leo, Grada Kilomba, Zé de Paiva

Camera: Zé de Paiva

Camera Assistance: Laura Alonso, Tito Casal

Costume design: Moses Leo

Editor: Grada Kilomba

Grada Kilomba is a Portuguese interdisciplinary artist and writer living in Berlin. Her work draws on memory, trauma, race, gender, and the post-colonial condition. Her work has been presented at international venues, such as the 32. Bienal de Sao Paulo 2016, Rauma Biennal Balticum 2016, ArtBasel, Art Fair Cape Town, Secession Museum in Vienna, Bozar Museum in Brussels, London Maritime Museum, Palácio das Artes in Belo Horizonte, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Kampnagel in Hamburg, Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin, Wits Theatre in Johannesburg, among others. She is best known for her unconventional writing and her subversive use of artistic practices, bringing text into performance, and giving body, voice and image to her own writings - using a variety of formats from video installations, to staged readings, to performances, to text collage, and to three dimensional and sound installations. To approach 'the colonial wound’, as Kilomba says, she intentionally creates a hybrid space between the academic and the artistic languages, to explore new formats of decolonising knowledge and narrative, bringing a new, experimental, and compelling voice into contemporary art and discourse.

SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Excercises

Fourth Exercise with Coco Fusco: Performing Politics, Reviewing History

March 9, 2016 | 6pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Observation of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist
Studio Museum in Harlem, 2013, (c) Maria Cruz Alarcon


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Since the 1980s, Fusco has explored the ways that images contribute to the culturally constructed understanding of identity, and she has investigated the role of intercultural dynamics in the formation of subjectivity. She has created several performance, video art works and critical writings that address intercultural dynamics in visual culture. For her presentation at SAVVY Contemporary, Coco Fusco will share her strategies and experiences of creating works that address colonial histories, gender and racial politics.

Coco Fusco is an interdisciplinary artist and writer and the Andrew Banks Endowed Professor of Art at the University of Florida. Her performances and videos have been presented in the 56th Venice Biennale, two Whitney Biennials (2008 and 1993), the Sydney Biennale, The Johannesburg Biennial, and The Shanghai Biennale amongst many others. Her works have also been shown at the Tate Liverpool, The Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center and Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt Berlin in 2003. She is represented by Alexander Gray Associates in New York.

She is a recipient of a 2014 Cintas Fellowship, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2013 Absolut Art Writing Award, a 2013 Fulbright Fellowship, a 2012 US Artists Fellowship and a 2003 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Fusco is the author of A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008) and her most recent publication Dangerous Moves: Performance & Politics In Cuba (2015) issued by Tate Publications in London. She is also the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (1999).

With kind support of KW Institute for Contemporary Art:

Third Exercise with Giovanna Zapperi on Carla Lonzi - The Making of a Feminist Subject

February 14, 2016 | 6pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Jacqueline Vodoz, Carla Lonzi with a friend, mid-1970s © Fondazione Jacqueline Vodoz e Bruno Danese, Milano.


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In this exercise, art historian Giovanna Zapperi will discuss her recent book 'Carla Lonzi. Un'arte della vita' (english: 'Carla Lonzi. The Art of Life') on the contemporary legacy of one of the most radical Italian feminist, Carla Lonzi, which will be published soon in Italy by Derive e Approdi.

Lonzi was an Italian writer and art critic, feminist, theorist of the self-consciousness and of the sexual diversity. She was one of the founders of the women's group Rivolta Femminile which placed self-awareness of women and gender difference at the center of their departure.Two of her seminal texts are 'Sputiamo su Hegel' (Let’s Spit on Hegel, 1970) and 'La donna clitoridea e la donna vaginale e altri scritti' (The Clitoridian Woman and the Vaginal Woman, and Other Writing, 1974).

In an interview with the series's co-curator Federica Bueti, Giovanna Zapperi tries, with hesitation, to answer the difficult question who Carla Lonzi is:

"I don’t think I have a definitive answer to this question, perhaps because Lonzi spent all her life trying to escape the very idea that one can be subject to definitions. I would say that Carla Lonzi was an Italian art critic, a feminist, a writer, and a poet. And yet, as someone who struggled against such categories and their power to reduce life to a sum of roles and identities, my own attempt to define her activity will inevitably remain provisional and incomplete. Lonzi experimented with ways of writing “differently” in the context of 1960s-1970s Italian culture, when the country’s social structures were shaken by a growing political contestation — from the workers strikes in the 1960s, to the 1968 revolts, and the autonomous movements that emerged throughout the 1970s — and, of course, a mass feminist movement. She wanted to undo the roles linked to her oppression, while constantly trying to articulate her subjective experience within a collective endeavor."

Read the full conversation here on

Giovanna Zapperi is an art historian and critic based in Paris where she received her doctorate from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in 2005. Her work examines the interrelation of art criticism, visual culture and feminism. Her critical essays have been published widely, including in Les Cahiers du MNAM, Histoire de l’Art, Perspective, Oxford Art Journal, Kritische Berichte, Parachute, Feminist Review. Her dissertation on Marcel Duchamp received the City of Paris Award for Gender studies, and was published in 2012. From 2005 to 2009, she was on the editorial board of the journal Multitudes; from 2007-2009, a visiting Rudolf Arnheim Professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin; and in 2009, a research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Nantes. In 2010, She became a faculty member of the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art in Bourges, where she teaches history and theory of contemporary art. From 2014–15, she was a fellow at the French Academy in Rome (Villa Medici) where she began working on her book on the criticism and art historical work of radical Italian feminist Carla Lonzi (1931–1982).

Second Exercise with Ewa Majewska: #Blackprotest as weak resistance. On recent women's mobilizations in Poland and globally.

December 15, 2016 | 6pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

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The #BlackProtest, which started this September, and led to the Women's Strike on the 3 October 2016 and now inspires the International Strike of Women, planned for the 8th March 2017, was about reproductive rights. The Polish government currently plans degrading women to the role of incubators, mere equipment for the prolongation of the species. In this necropolitical perspective the life and health of women are totally instrumentalized, reduced to the role of supportive elements of „national reproduction”. The #BlackProtest started as an internet campaign, invented by Gocha Adamczyk, a member of the Razem left wing party. She suggested, that women should wear black on the 21 September, and that photographs of people wearing black should be collected in social media, together with words of support and solidarity. The black and white photographs of women from all social contexts started to fill the #BlackProtest's social media and became a massive mobilisation of some 200 000 people alltogether, for many the first political gesture in their lives. Than, the General Women's Strike was announced and some 150 000 women in cities big and small stepped in the streets, demanding respect for women, rights and safety and expressing solidarity. It was by far the biggest social mobilisation in Poland after 1989. Later, women in Argentine, Mexico and Corea went on Strike. On the 26 Nov women in Itali held massive demonstrations. Now, a plan for an International Women's Strike was set up and on the 8 March 2017 we expect women from at least 20 countries to go on strike.

The next revolution we look at will be a feminist one. It demands basic rights and resepect, expresses international solidarity, welcomes political activists and women who never participated in politics before. In the simplicity of this mobilisation the commonality – of the participants, of the protest, of the internet activities, of the demands leads to a conclusion, that the common in revolt is the common of the non-heroic, of the ordinary, of the weak. Women and those, who support us, challenge the patriarchal conceptualizations and political practice of resistance, practicing heterogeneity without paternalism, solidarity without hierarchies and politics without exclusion. It is time to discuss and verbalize these strategies, these aims and needs. Let's do it together.

Dr Ewa Majewska – feminist philosopher and activist, currently lives in Warsaw, where she works at the Artes Liberales Department of the Warsaw University. She published several monographs, collected volumes, articles and essays on politics, culture and women, she was active in queer, feminist, anti-border and antiglobalist movements and in the art scene. Her recent publications include: So Far, So Good and La Mestiza from Ukraine? Border Crossing with Gloria Anzaldúa

First Exercise with Övül Durmusoglu: Who will love us to the end of time?

November 15, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

We are happy to announce our new series on Feminisms which will be opened by Övül Durmusoglu with her exercise 'Who will love us to the end of time?'.

These are the days of the revenge on the elites, the revenge of the boys who never saw the promises made to them real. They are angry as they have been silenced, made invisible. Yet, they look for a certain kind of transcendence, to be part of a higher goal. Populist politics feed on their frustrations and desire of revenge. But, the angrier the boys, the stronger is their appeal for grandiosity. Some men see the potential of turning this anger into a tool for the creation of new father figures. This mutated form of colonial agency blocks our breathing systems in life and politics. So, what to do? Can new feminist politics help us to address the current crisis of masculinity? How can we build a genderless feminist syntax of decolonization for today and for future?

Övül Durmusoglu is a curator and writer based in Berlin and Istanbul. She is the director/curator of YAMA screen in Istanbul. She worked as curatorial and public program advisor for Gulsun Karamustafa's ongoing exhibition 'Chronographia' at Hamburger Bahnhof for which she has co-edited the exhibition catalogue. She has recently curated 'Future Queer', the 20th year anniversary exhibition for Kaos GL association in Istanbul. In the past, she acted as curator of the festival Sofia Contemporary 2013 titled as 'Near, Closer, Together: Exercises for a Common Ground' and organized different programs and events as a Goethe Institute fellow at Maybe Education and Public Programs for dOCUMENTA (13). Durmusoglu has contributed to several in-print and online publications.


How does the meaning of ‘feminism’ change in different contexts and times? And, what can we learn from historical feminist practices? “Feminism”, Yemisi Aribisala writes, “cannot be globally defined because Pangaea broke into pieces 250 million years ago and many wild waters and hazardous bush must be traversed to evangelise my kind of savage. The world is not one.” On the other hand, Science-fiction writer Octavia Butler describes it in terms of the act of writing yourself into the world: “You got to make your own worlds. You got to write yourself in it.”

How do we – women, men, transgender, not-men – write ourselves into the world? And, how do we unwrite an already written page? How do we imagine a different language, another collective politics from the perspective of feminist practice today? When vulnerable communities continue to be threated by racism, xenophobia, acts of bullyism, and violence against women, gay and trans-people, we feel the urge to address these and other questions in an attempt to mobilise and develop new feminist politics and practices.

For this series of preliminary exercises, our point of departure is the acknowledgement of a deep, and we hope productive, disagreement on the meaning of and the contemporary valence of this term. Perhaps this is already what feminism is about, a form of collective non-alignment. Through a series of performative events, talks and workshops, SPEAKING FEMINISMS enacts the multiple histories, struggles, and voices that define ‘feminism’ as both a practice and a concept.

The series is curated by Elena Agudio, Federica Bueti and Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro.