Promise No Promises!
New: Feminism Under Corona
Episode 01 – A one flavor reality
From May 2020, the podcast Promise no Promises!continues with a special Feminism Under Corona chapter. Over the next few months ten new episodes arise from conversations between Sonia Fernández Pan and guests from different artistic disciplines and areas of research and life practice. Beyond simple answers or solutions, this series of personal conversations is an attempt to point out different directions, feelings, expectations, sequels, and individual stories in times of the current crisis provoked by Covid-19. It is also a tool for a collectively inhabited feminism in a time when not only gender, class, and race imbalances are reinforced, but these are even becoming more visible in the current situation. The first episode entitled A one flavor reality is the continuation of a conversation with artist Ran Zhang about the effects and consequences of Covid-19 in a reality that is continuously mutating despite the confinement of our bodies being locked at home.
Promise no Promises! is a podcasts series produced by the Womxn’s Center for Excellence, a research project between the Art Institute Basel and the Instituto Susch—a joint venture with Grażyna Kulczyk and Art Stations Foundation CH. The Womxn’s Center for Excellence is conceived as a think tank tasked to assess, develop, and propose new social languages and methods to understand the role of women in the arts, culture, science, and technology.
The notion of the voice is a crucial one in the historical development of women’s consciousness and their position and agency in society. How to discern when women are speaking in their own voices goes hand in hand with the question of how to know who we are and doing what we really want to do. The spoken and the unspoken are both dimensions of the inquiry into «who benefits from our silence or what are the effects and consequences of our voices being raised?» Mostly, unspoken practices of gender-based exclusion and discrimination, favor the interests of others.
Does art education play a role in future forms of inequality? The core liberal values of freedom and equality are engrained in the system of art education and in the role of women in the Western art-world system, but should we nevertheless seriously reconsider their premises? Are the different art worlds correctly interpreting the impact of labor and the economic structures on the situation women face? How can attention to sexuality and to the disparities of power that pervade in heterosexual relationships and in patriarchal cultures be alerted? How can this go hand in hand with the radical need to reconsider the identification of sex-class membership that happens at birth and allow for the development of an individual’s personalities and preferences without the coercive influence of any socially-enacted value system? Crossing all these questions lies another: how are all these experiences of gender simultaneously informed by class, ethnicity, race? Mainstream feminism has historically belittled the voices of women of color, queer women, women of different classes, disabled women, and the other non-normative identities that play a fundamental role in the experiences of women in the world. We are seeing the necessary resurgence of the term 'intersectionality,' and the need to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. We know one thing: we must refrain from articulating one singular voice. We need a chorus!
The podcast series Promise no Promises! is an ongoing endeavor to address these issues. They originate from a series of symposia initiated in October of 2018 in Basel and moderated by Chus Martínez and Quinn Latimer. Part of the Womxn’s Center for Excellence, the symposia and the podcasts are the public side of this research project aimed to develop different teaching tools, materials and ideas to challenge the curricula, but also to create a sphere in which to meet, discuss, and foster a new imagination of what is still possible in our fields of work and thought.