In hot, psychotropic punk capitalism, as the theoretician Beatriz Preciado calls the dominant economic model, which absorbs all forms of resistance, we are witnessing a new regime of regulation of sex and sexual subjectivity: the so-called pharmacopornographic regime which has replaced the disciplinary regime of the 19th century.
Preciado experiments with gender and takes testosterone not to become a man or as some kind of trans strategy, but rather to prevent her from turning into what society wanted her to become. To “write, fuck and feel” a “postpornographic” form of pleasure. As she states, she has added a “molecular prosthesis” to her low-tech transgendered identity composed of dildos, texts and moving images. She takes “T” to avenge the death of her beloved one.
In Testo Junkie* the male and female gender are perceived as “bio-political fictions”. Clearly, what is at stake here is not the transformation from woman to man or vice versa, but the “contamination of the molecular base of production of sexual difference” , with the insight that these two “natural” states (man and woman) are only “somatic effects of the technical process of normalisation.”
Contrary to the above mentioned “copyleft biopolitical agent”, with whom she shares a common feminist project, Judith Jack Halberstam believes that at least potentially, as an option, there are forms that cannot be easily absorbed. This is explored in “Gaga Feminism”, which can be placed in the context of “wild theory” – a somewhat fictive term for theory that emerged recently, which breaks with orthodoxy and “experiments with knowledge, art and the imagination”, although it is aware of the “constraints under which all three operate”. Halberstam establishes “impossible” relations between the anarchist Emma Goldman and the theorist José Esteban Muñoz in order to form a theoretical basis for a “wild archive” of contemporary art practices. She stresses that the latter articulates (queer) utopia not as a place, but as a “horizon”, as a “mode of possibility”, a queer future that “is not an end, but an opening”.
The artistic practice of Émilie Jouvet is inscribed into this “emerging field of shifting identities, active communities and political dreams”, which has already been discussed by “gender talents” at the experimental congress Charming for the Revolution.**
Jouvet has been tracking queer and feminist movement in “the former West” for fifteen years. While Europe takes its last breaths, the Paris and Berlin based artist critically engages in creating an “impermanent, unstable, imperfect” archive of revolutionary emancipatory movements that together with the LGBT movement form one of the major upheavals of the 20th century. The multitude still resonates, or rather, it is present here and now. This is an archive-in-the-making, a performative archive, within which the artist examines two urgent issues of our times, gender and sexuality, through endless modulations, reconfigurations and openings. She tackles the complex questioning of these two categories by using the medium of photography, video and film, all of which have acquired the status of ‘art’ rather late due to market pressure and the fact that the dominant narrative of the West is painting.
For the exhibition in Škuc Gallery, Émilie Jouvet made a new constellation of photographs in which protagonists from urban cities, crucial for the development of LGBTQI culture and movement “travel between genders”. The constellation, a counterpoint to linear way of perceiving history ***, consists also of two films: Roof opens up the issue of participation or rather its (im)possibility, while One Night Stand is a complex and juicy investigation of women and queer sexuality.
To sum up: Émilie Jouvet’s practice is about decolonizing gender and representations of sexuality, which are, as Preciado would put it, counterhegemonic.
Rosana Sancin, curator
* Feminist Press, New York, 2013.
** Tate Modern, London, 1-2 February 2013.
*** Simon Sheikh/Walter Benjamin.
We invite you to attend the guided tour of the exhibition with the curator Rosana Sancin on Thursday, 28th November at 6 pm.
Kindly supported by:
Institut français Charles Nodier
Special thanks to: Dr. Marina Gržinić and Jasmina Šepetavc.
The programme of Škuc Gallery is supported by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.