Corneous Stories | 26th International Festival City of Women
8. 10. 2020 - 30. 10. 2020


8. 10., 7 pm–11 pm: Exhibition opening with exhibition viewing and performance

9. 10., 6 pm–9 pm: Diskurzivni salon

10. 10., 5 pm–7 pm: Presentation of the Corneous Stories student research project and publication

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What do we realize when we look at society and history through cosmetics and beauty work?

The Corneous Stories project includes an exhibition, discursive programme, art education and a publication. It offers a platform for presentations and encounters within the transdisciplinary
research of historical and societal perspectives on the material culture of cosmetics. Developed by differently organized individuals and groups – artists, researchers, art educators and students –, Corneous Stories look at history through the skin, nails and hair.

Perceived as a wide concept in Corneous Stories, cosmetics and beauty labour are seen as an everyday social practice. Despite their centrality within the visual culture and aesthetic-formal codings of individual eras and societies and their material circuits and connections, both cosmetics and beauty labour are rarely a subject of (artistic) research or (re)production. Revealing surprising links between different sectors of the economy (chemical, car and film industry), work regimes (service, but also forced- and migrant labour, as well as beauty labour), mobility, modernity and identity violence and how they intersect in the material culture of cosmetics and visual culture, Corneous Stories want to trigger reconsiderations of the ways of contemporary subjectivation and governance.

The Corneous Stories project strives for a mutually supportive transfer of different knowledge, experience, feelings, and practices that are not divided into more and less important ones. Situated knowledge such as social “readings” of appearances and recognising mechanisms of social divisions based on appearances is knowledge, too. To have the ability to reflect upon a personal and a experience of marginalization and suppression of others means to act against it.

No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption.*

*Freire, P. (2005 [1970]). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York:
Continuum, p. 54.

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The Corneous Stories project includes an exhibition, discursive programme, art education and a publication. It offers a platform for presentations and encounters within the transdisciplinary research of historical and societal perspectives on the material culture of cosmetics. Developed by differently organized individuals and groups – artists, researchers, art educators and students –, Corneous Stories look at history through the skin, nails and hair, asking “What do we see if we look at history and society through cosmetics and the labour of beauty?” 

Revealing surprising links between different sectors of the economy (chemical, car and film industry), work regimes (service, but also forced- and migrant labour, as well as beauty labour), mobility, modernity and identity violence and how they intersect in the material culture of cosmetics and visual culture, Corneous Stories want to trigger reconsiderations of the ways of contemporary subjectivation and governance. 

Exhibiting: Dovilė Aleksaitė, Milijana Babić, Mareike Bernien and Kerstin Schroedinger, Kim Bode, Centre for Women’s Studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, Lea Culetto, Lenka Đorojević, Anna Ehrenstein, Jinran Ha, Johanna Käthe Michel, Selma Selman

Curated by Katja Kobolt.

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The exhibition (visual parlour) features the discursive parlour with Suza Husse, Ayşe Güleç, Katja Kobolt (N*A*I*L*S hacks*facts*fictions), Milijana Babić and Ana Ajduković, Petja Grafenauer with the participants of the crossdisciplinary student research project (Jerneja Erhatič, Rebeka Hvala, Jaka Juhant, Petra Lapajne, Ana Obid, Zdenka Pandžić, Neja Rakušček, Lucija Šerak, Iza Štrumbelj Oblak) publication authors (Brigita Miloš, Svetlana Slapšak) and the exhibiting artists.

The exibition also features the art education parlour with Kim Bode, Anna Ehrenstein, Johanna Käthe Michel and Katja Kobolt (N*A*I*L*S hacks*facts*fictions), Lea Culetto, Nevena Aleksovski, Sara Fabjan, Tea Hvala and Sara Šabec. 

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EXHIBITION OPENING

Suza Husse, a member of the N*A*I*L*S hacks*facts*fictions collaborative platform, is going to host a (nail) salon-style, walk-through conversation within the framework of the Corneous Stories exhibition. At 8 pm, a performative reading entitled Dialogue of the Objects Komische Fragmente will be conducted by Jinran Ha and Johanna Käthe Michel.

Jinran Ha and Johanna Käthe Michel: Dialogue of the Objects/Komische Fragmente

Performative reading

The artists will invite the audience to take on the role of the objects and read out the script of the Dialogue of the Objects / Komische Fragmente. By scanning the name tag of a character (object), the visitors can download the script of the selected object onto their device and step into roles that represent or speak about various biopolitical and social positions. Thus, the bodies coming from diverse backgrounds will be experiencing an interchange of positions during this participatory performative reading.

LINK TO CITY OF WOMEN FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

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Artistic direction: Katja Kobolt (N*A*I*L*S hacks*facts*fictions), Teja Reba, Arpad Sölter, Urban Šrimpf, Katja Bradač and Petja Grafenauer; exhibition design advisor: Lenka Đorojević; production and coordination: Eva Prodan; organized by: City of Women, in the framework of European project BE PART, supported by the Creative Europe Programme. Partners: City of Women, Goethe-Institut Ljubljana, District Berlin, Škuc Gallery, Academy of Fine Arts and Design – University of Ljubljana. Supported by: European Social Fund (Corneous Stories publication), Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport – Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund (ŠIPK student research project “Project Work with the Non-Economic and Non-Profit Sector – Students Innovative Projects for the Benefit of Society 2019/2020”), Ministry of Public Administration, City of Ljubljana, Goethe-Institut Ljubljana.

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Photos from the opening: Nada Žgank © City of Women

Exhibition view: Klemen Ilovar