Together with curator Kim McAleese, Underverk presented a set of feminist film screenings punctuated by food provided by meal ecologist Ayhan Aydin and experience designer Josefin Vargö, who translated certain elements from the film into taste.
A set of food snacks were presented during Underverk’s feminist film screenings, co-curated together with Kim McAleese.
For each film certain elements were translated into taste and interaction. Produced together with meal ecologist Ayhan Aydin.
Film 1: La Blanchisseuse, Rohesia Hamilton, 1993.
An experimental video examining the emotional and aesthetic underpinnings of the tendency that still exists for women to take a greater responsibility than men for domestic work and nurturing. The images of a woman ironing pay homage in their composition to paintings of laundresses by such artists as Edgar Degas, Honor, Daumier, Edouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and others. Many of the paintings of laundresses by these artists create an ambiguously gentle impression, portraying the task of laundry as sensual, feminine, and producing contentment.
La Blanchisseuse examines the relationship between the images with which we have grown up and the expectations women place upon themselves. Equally poignant texts; from Intrusion (Denise Levertov), Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law (Adrienne Rich), and To The Lighthouse (Virginia Woolfe) scroll over the images, alluding both to the pull of tradition for a woman to provide nurturing care to others and to the sense of betrayal and rejection that can be the reward for providing such care.
FOOD ACCOMPANIMENT: Steamed dumplings, filled with foraged greens, served in linens on an ironing board. The texture is very soft, while the taste goes from subtle to bitter tones to resemble the conflict of domestic labour.
Film 2: Semiotics of the Kitchen, Martha Rosler, 1975
In this performance Rosler takes on the role of an apron-clad housewife and parodies the television cooking demonstrations popularized by Julia Child in the 1960s. Standing in a kitchen, surrounded by refrigerator, table, and stove, she moves through the alphabet from A to Z, assigning a letter to the various tools found in this domestic space. Wielding knives, a nutcracker, and a rolling pin, she warms to her task, her gestures sharply punctuating the rage and frustration of oppressive women’s roles.
Rosler has said of this work, “I was concerned with something like the notion of ‘language speaking the subject,’ and with the transformation of the woman herself into a sign in a system of signs that represent a system of food production, a system of harnessed subjectivity.”
FOOD ACCOMPANIMENT: ‘Semiotics of a carrot’; X small carrot cubes, Y dried purple carrots, Z carrot caramels, showing the value of an ingredient. This was shared on a long wooden board, between 3-4 people.
FIlm 3: Our Time Is Coming, Selma James, 1971.
Selma James, a socialist and feminist, uses her own experiences working in low-paid jobs and being a mother and housewife as a starting point in this investigation into whether women are exploited in all areas of society. Interviews with full-time housewives, and with females who work outside the home but still do almost all of the household chores, reveal the true extent of women’s work. James goes on to ask whether equal pay outside the home and a real division of housework between men and women will ever become a reality.
In 1972, a year after this programme was broadcast, a key work by Selma James, Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, was published. In this, she expands on the ideas put forward in the programme and argues that the entire labour market is built upon the unpaid work of women. Also in 1972, James set up the International Wages for Housework Campaign, which argues that running the home should be recognised as work in official statistics and that people doing this labour should be paid a wage by the government.
FOOD ACCOMPANIMENT: A big pot with a miso-dashi soup, served in paper mugs. They will huddle around two small bonfires, the perfect environment to create a communal feeling for discussions and opinions.
Supported by Stockholms Stad and CuratorLab Konstfack.