Following the “Starting a conversation on comparative feminism” exhibition in Nanjing, China in 2017, WhyWhyArt initiates ActOnition – an Action performed in public spaces for individuals and activists to not only acknowledge personal responsibilities but to also Act On and to point out and change the unjust aspects of social behaviors. For that occasion, WhyWhyArt puts forward seven Antonyms. Antonyms against violence, Antonyms against sexual assault, Antonyms against domestic violence and Antonyms against mental violence, Antonyms against emotional violence, Antonyms against cultural and spiritual violence. The first 6 ActOnitions were performed by Susanne Junker and Zane Mellupe in Vietnam in April 2019. The displayed artists works that are dealing with feminist approach and violence against individuals were created between 2007 and 2019.
Antonyms in a form of ActOnition emphasizes the necessity to keep on raising awareness for different social groups of “s(he) gender” and is especially designed to draw attention and to propose a conversation in less developed and traditional societies. Antonyms depicts clearly to not put up with physical/economical; sexual/human rights and mental/political abuse. The experience of being physically threatened is wider than just sexual. Sexual harassment, perhaps, is just one form of exploitation – alongside with labor exploitation, organ harvesting and not to talk about ideological constraints present in every state.
What can be the driving factor for change in e.g. Asian societies, where family bonds have been and still are a crucial part of a person’s identity? Is enhancing women rights possible in the framework of a traditional family? Putting social bonds and groups over individual desires and goals is a necessary pre-condition for a solid, strong traditional society where everybody must act according to her role and status to ensure the continuation of the tribe.
However, the fabric of society, which we perceive as inert and with stability is made of acts and thoughts of leading individuals is crystallized and petrified over time. Yet, in the age of social media, there are channels for artists and activists transmitting a powerful message on a scale not possible before. There are many success stories of “s(he) gender” making career in business, arts and science and are creating change. WhyWhyArt’s intention is to use Antonyms in a set-up of ActOnition as an opportunity to explore “s(he) gender” which don’t have a voice yet. Their stories must be told now and used for further generations over and over again.
ActOnition 1, ActOnition 2, ActOnition 3, ActOnition 4, ActOnition 5, ActOnition 6,
by Susanne Junker and Zane Mellupe, © WhyWhyArt, Vietnam, 2019
with the support of DNAG and JMTK.
GET INVOLVED, RAISE AWARENESS, DO YOUR OWN Antonyms ActOnition!
STEP 1 – Send your photos of works that are dealing with the topic of violence against S(HE) gender to email@example.com. Please make sure the file size is not bigger than 10MB and subject of the e-mail is “Antonyms ActOnition”.
STEP 2 – WhyWhyArt (at organization expense) will add the graphics, print the files and send to you.
STEP 3 – You do your ActOnition and make documentation of it.
STEP 4 – Send documentation of your Antonyms ActOnition to WhyWhyArt.
Last submission deadline 1st of May 2020. All participants of Antonyms ActOnition documentation will show together in a museum exhibition in China in the summer of 2020.
Project supported by: Department of Culture and Education of the German Consulate General in Shanghai (China) and ifa gallery in Brussels (Belgium).