We revel to survive
The bed is a virtual monument to dreaming presents; a space for germinating ambivalent pleasures; shelter, battlefield and (dis)comfort zone all at once. This is the command center of girlhood, a place where the need for social disobedience is being stimulated.
From September 7th to October 7th, we will organize a bedroom in the Arsenal. We send messages from the world of girls to the world of liquid concrete.
The bed as a motif has appeared in art quite often, from the sweet, participatory BED-IN of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, to Robert Rauschenberg’s aesthetic “BED,” the melancholic lair of Tracey Emin, the space of interactions by Thomas Bo Nilsson, and finally, to “Sprawls,” a series of events by COVEN Berlin and their guests.
During the month-long situation at Arsenal Gallery, two shiftless, shamelessly awoken queer collectives, Girlhood and COVEN Berlin, will answer the following questions:
What are the new trends in young art? Geometrical patterns and expressive colors!; how to choose a medium for a figure; who won the competition “The Most Slender Abstract Painter”?; shiny accessories – are they still in in post-internet aesthetics?; how to choose the right laptop for your complexion; a quiz for the most attractive code; what will boys come up with when the girl programs better than they do?; how to do a carnival performance; activist action: how to learn the art of origami.
Members of both collectives invite all who are willing to jump with them into a ten-foot bedspace. Aside from the opening, closing, and usual opening hours of the gallery, there will be three occasions to do so: the first will fall on September 8th (a Saturday), when the hosts and guides of these nocturnal adventures will become Girls from the Girlhood collective. Plans for the late evening and early nighttime activities include oneiric hang outs, sentimental dress ups, rambunctious brawls, relaxing movie screenings, and collective diary-writing sessions. The space will be set up collectively, using objects small and large contributed by participants. The algorithm of sentiment will guide us to select the right objects. The accumulated surplus of time will be used to contemplate issues endemic to girlhood. Boredom will be applied as a site of resistance against the productive normativity of the everyday art world. The shift in the institution’s usual opening hours will allow the participants to change the pace, slow down, relieve stress, relax…
Part two will take place between September 22-23, and its instigators will be the Berlin magicians from the COVEN collective. Pioneers of queer romanticism will invite guests to take a walk on mental-metabolic routes with no visual safeguards to fall back on. This late summer evening will feature theatrically-inspired disses, nurturing self-care rituals, hair cuts, gossiping, make-up stories, Truth or Dare challenges, collective dreaming, karaoke, and even more karaoke. During these nocturnal sessions, we want to celebrate girlhood, which is more than a gender exclusive experience or abstract construction, for it is a mental and physical space for those who are neither women nor girls. It is a border space, an undefined area between types. All events are open to the public and all ages are welcome. We invite people of different experiences and skillsets, representing all possible sexes, and with various levels of able-bodiedness. The girlhood vibe knows no limits.
The last night (September 29-30) belongs to everyone and will be led by both groups: there will be summaries and steeplechases, culminations and boring narrations, intervals, stations and torn relations.
The point is to create a world from the leftovers of the past, and to do this, everything comes in handy: bravo girl, bmx, drive-ins, applications, profanations, transparencies and dark nets. Remnants of worlds not yet dissolved by gastric juices, deposited like tectonic layers in abdominal geology; the market has a very efficient digestive system. It swallows everything, and even out of gold acrylic nails churns out crap. Human indigestion is bound up with character. In our search for the sources of girlhood, we turn to viscera, and like archaeologists on the trail of the ancient amphorae, we search for the generic features of our stratified personalities, what heteronormative optics and the reproductive function exclude from their spectrum; what escapes commodification, what stands off and lingers, and therefore retains independence. Girlhood is our frenetic dance on the ruins of cultural habits, a pastiche of class systems, and the ramifications of the necessities of life.
We revel to survive.
From official perspectives, girlhood is an ambivalent and sleepy state of mind, like trauma, like the stigma that appears when one takes on a role despised by patriarchal society, one who does not count, who disappears with age and experience in others who diminish this role. But Girlhood is a sphere of discomfort that may prove to be a place of solidarity. It is about affiliation to all that is repressed, for what patrilineal geometry cuts out of view; it is the love of fringes, pleats and worn-down linings. It is out of these things that we sew our raft bed, by which we will reach well-known banks, leaving behind a whitewashed, depopulated, crinkled Europe. We exclude nothing and nobody – we are inclusive.
Beware: Girlhood is contagious.
Text by Zofia nierodzińska
Dziewczyństwo & COVEN Berlin present: BEDTIME
Curatio: Zofia nierodzińska