GenderArtNet is an experimental mapping project exploring the interrelation of gender, ethnicity, race, class and sexualities in contemporary Europe.
GenderArtNet’s primary aim is to thematically link the various existing online resources of feminist and queer artists, projects and networks rather than provide yet another user platform for artist profiles. By connecting existing, often remote, online resources, we would like to improve the accessibility and readability of these resources while keeping the memory of feminist artistic and cultural production in the broader Europe alive.
By organising this information in a map, we work to provide contexts, connections, and relations between artists, artworks and networks and between geopolitics and artistic practice. Our starting point is a relational understanding of feminism as a critical, multilayered practice that considers the interrelatedness of various forms of social, political and cultural hierarchies and exclusions along the lines of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, bodily ability, race, class and geopolitical location.
In addition to this thematic and relational approach, we stress the relevance of the geopolitical context for artistic and cultural production and strive to provide a different reading of the geopolitics of Europe through artistic practice. As Irit Rogoff states in Terra Infirma (2000), maps are signifiers of both, location, as well as identity, culture and politics. They are epistemological tools, which encode accumulated knowledge. Historically closely linked to the emergence of imperial empires and colonialism, they allow(ed) to naturalise political systems, borders, regimes and empires. The contemporary (artistic) practice of un-mapping, re-mapping, and counter-mapping attempts to decode these naturalised systems of knowledge, for instance by assigning unacknowledged histories and marginalised perspectives (such as dislocation, subjective memories, exclusion and cross-cultural experiences) to geographical terrain. In this sense, re-mapping also becomes a practice of cultural translation.
In order to better highlight this complexity, we have organised the map into a series of twelve thematic clusters, called galaxies, which contextualise resources while linking and relating artists, projects, networks, as well as artistic practice, and larger social and political issues to one another. These galaxies have been developed through a longer editorial process in which the participants’ personal experiences and subjectivity, their collective inspiration, coincidence, revolt, humour and irony took a strong place. The galaxies are represented on the website using comprehensive geographic information system tools. In order to avoid geographically mapping (new, exotic, other) territories for cultural consumption, we opted to use the astronomical model as a visual point of reference to map the galaxies as constantly shifting, alternative territories.
The project in its current form is the result of a grant of the European Cultural Foundation, allowing for a two year development phase involving regular collaborations and conversations between a group of feminist curators, producers, artists, media activists and critics, as well as contributions from students of European Media Studies at University of Potsdam / University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. It understands itself as a work in progress, a proposal, a potential, that can be further developed through a growing network of contributors and participating individuals and organisations in the future.