A series of meetings, debates, interviews and a documentation room on the process of music production and its relationship with feminist practices.
In collaboration with Montse Romani (Barcelona)
Within the frame of AUDIO, a sound program curated by Oscar Abril Ascaso at the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona.
As early as 1997, Terre Thaemlitz (transgender multimedia producer) questioned the subversive quality of electronic music and of transgender surgery, both of which use the latest technological tools as a means of representation and, consequently, often end up perverting them and reinforcing stereotypes. ( Couture Cosmetique) The same means, moreover, help to deconstruct the processes of creation and of representation and make it possible to explore their interstices, those of genre (whether of sex or music) (Interstices 2000). This deconstruction, and the consciousness or the occupation of these interstices, also allows the representation of tensions and contradictions which arise both from the desire and the resistance towards occupying the musical stage or gender, both defined up until now in subjugation to and perpetuation of dominant patriarchal socio-economic systems.
We accept that sexual/gendered bodies are historical sites of political, cultural, scientific and technological renegociation; the same applies to the electronic media, the musical stage. As Anna Friz (sound and pirate radio artist) wrote in 2004 (Heard but Unscene; women in electronic music), although one may be fed up with identity debates, the coming of new hardware and software does not erase questions of access, economics and representation. According to her, the very discourse on liberalization of the means of production and of creation, limits and stigmatises the discourse on representation and access to the stage.
If electronic music, and the raise of technology in general, could be thought up and used to call into question the structures at the time of the celebration of the rhizomes and other networked societies, the laptop gender, digital creation, alternative rock scene have become conventions unto themselves, the aesthetics of which are often normalised, enclosed by the very formats and aesthetics of the software or the performance itself. And yet technology allows transparency, transmission and highjacking of the code, of other forms of distribution, and of the relation to creation, to ownership, to the author, to the public …
Recently, various cultural spaces and music festivals in Barcelona and in Spain hosted debates and workshops on the meeting ground of digital, musical and feminist practices. In 2003, the Santa Monica Centre invited Christiane Erharter’s project “XX01/2003 Infotainment” on women’s representation and its place in the history of popular and punk music of the 20th century.
In October 2005, the Santa Monica Centre, continuing to feature a range of stories and experiences, invited Constant, an art and media association run by artists active in gender issues, networks, open source, recycled technology, working conditions, etc, and which develops projects in different spaces such as the field of code and standards/norms of the digital medium, to make a presentation. The project QUÉ C*** ? explored various strategies of production, of creation, of curating, of performances, of representation, by organising public, open and streamed interviews, debates, meetings, an information room and a party, on the following questions, among others:
What is it about the theoretical undercurrents and the networking mechanisms in the music scene(s) that impede women artists from being seen and heard? Is this question still relevant?
Has the alternative scene become a standard as a result of the formats of dominant technologies and the reproduction of stereotypes? Or does it remain a place of possible détournement / displacement, and a place of experimentation in technologies or gender stereotypes ?
What are the economic strategies and practices built by indepent groups, labels, press to assure a visibility and practice to feminist or at least gender minded musical scene?
How to produce a feminist song wihtout killing the ratings?
Is there a connection to feminist history as a critique of the systems of representation, economy and access to technology of production and distribution?