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Monday, November 26, 2012

An interview with Ida Hiršenfelder, editor of Sektor Ž, feminist radio show on Radio Študent, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2011)



Please can you introduce yourself?
With general introductions it could take too long to really explain myself. Personal histories can be really funny and sometimes really traumatic but I’ll try to tell you the funny part of the story.
I mean an introduction related to your media production, of course.
Of course. I could say that I started to work without having a really precise goal, in a way it was very automatic. Let’s say it felt like the right thing to do, it was very natural for me, my basic behaviour led me to write about this. My background is actually in visual arts, contemporary visual arts and fine arts and that’s how I started working in the media. But then, of course I have several focuses in writing about art and one of them is my interest in feminist topics. Of course, I am very interested in new media art, intermedia art and all these crossover things but as a journalist writing about contemporary art, I was immediately very intrigued by festivals like Red Dawns or City of Women in Ljubljana. Of course, that was also because they had a very good visual arts program and at the same time, I don’t know, it felt like the right thing to do. I am not only writing about feminism in Sektor Ž but also in any other media that I do. Everything I write does not necessarily directly address feminism but it has a layer, a very thin layer that is covering everything; it’s the feminist skin embracing everything.
How did you come to feminism or when and where did you get interested in feminism; when did you even get a chance to get interested?
Well, it goes back to childhood as for all the people. I had a very strange mix with my mother who wasn’t really emancipated but at the same time she’s had really bright moments in her life. That was one of the things and then having an authoritarian father who was authoritarian because he was weak. When I realized this, I saw that this game they were playing… that there was something wrong with that. And I analysed that when I was about 15, when you start to think for yourself. I sort of naturally came to that and of course I was surrounded by… I was going to an art school when I was a teenager so this was one of the things you can’t neglect. For example, finding out that Walt Whitman was gay was something that was very much embraced by all of us because we saw so many different layers – and that was the explanation they wouldn’t give us at school, we found that out for ourselves and that’s why it was so much more precious. It was the same with feminism. Like, Camille Claudel: finding out about her story, one could no longer be infiltrated in the story of Roden that was presented by our teacher because we knew the other part of the story and that was like… finding out the world is not flat, you know.
So it was more through your peers than through official channels – education?
Definitely. It was my surroundings. And later also being involved in intercultural studies, sinology, I was even more finding out about others – you know, any kind of others, be it migrants, be it non-Europeans, whoever was labelled as “the Others”. That pretty much defined my interests because I felt like that as well.
How did you become involved in writing and publishing / media production?
A: I always wanted to work in contemporary art. Since I was very little I completely knew that. Then, in 2002 I was working for a curator in Beijing and found out that I want to be curator. Later, when I got into that, I realized that I’m shit at organising stuff (laughs) but also that I am good at writing and thinking. The realisation that writing was my thing came very naturally seven years ago. Then I got involved with Radio Študent because it was the most accessible media. The work was almost non-paid, a little bit funded, but at the same time really experimental. The form there is very open, there are certain standards but you could write just about anything, any proposal would go as long as your position is intelligent or thought through. That was my first media and now I am writing for many magazines, even some international, and a daily newspaper, and so on.
Where did you learn the skills for producing this media – if we stick to the radio show?
A: At the radio. That was a very interesting procedure, it involved my passion for computers and anything technical, and I was absolutely intrigued about working for a radio, having to do with the studio, learning for myself and teaching myself how to work with different audio editing tools – that was really interesting. And I was, of course, taught by my colleagues, predominantly by Jasmina Jerant who used to be the cultural department editor and the editor of Sektor Ž.
Would this include the writing skills, too?
A: The writing skills … They don’t only come from the radio, I leaned on many people, especially because there is no good formal education for writing about contemporary art in Slovenia. So I was taught by all the NGO’s who were organising workshops for writing, predominantly SCCA which I am now also collaborating with. They organise special workshops for writing about contemporary art and I was in contact with Eda Čufer, Miško Šuvaković, Suzana Milevska. Many different writers had corrected me – of course, also my mentor Barbara Borčič who was really particular about some of the ways in which I expressed things and is one of the people who is responsible for me writing in a more constructivist way, not the procreatorial way. It’s something that comes from the 80’s, it’s the difference between whether the artist creates something or whether an artist constructs something. It’s a very different position whether you think that something evolved out of nothing or things were just put together. It’s a different manner of speaking.
Do you consume feminist media (print, internet, TV, radio etc.)?
A: Of course. Sektor Ž is actually composed of … It’s also reflecting on anything that is going on in the feminist public sphere, anything that has anything to do with that. That also involves the little amount of publishing in Slovenia and I always emphasize … If there is a story, an issue that is exposed in other media, I give it another view, an alternative view. I always, always refer to a magazine that is no longer published, that stopped being published in 2006, I think, Delta. Actually, I don’t really know what’s going on with it. Delta is one of those magazines about which I would really like to know why they’re no longer published. Because it was straight to the point, it was published for ten years or even longer, and some of their articles were very referential for me. There were some translations of theory, essays that are really good. And then there is Apokalipsa which is published annually now for about five or six years, their special Gender issues. I’m not on any RSS, but I follow feminist blogs as much as I can. Most predominantly I follow the artists who identify as feminists. I try to trace what they’re doing, their production. I also certify that as media in a way; the internet.
How often do you consume feminist media?
A: That really depends on my time and focus. If I’m writing about fine arts – this consumes almost all of my time ‘cause I have three or four jobs. Sometimes I decide that my jobs involve that – a particular feminist theme – then I would purposely consume more. In my free time, yes, I read some stuff but usually I do it with a purpose. When you write that much you have to be careful that you don’t do more reading that writing, so, you know, if my writing involves feminist topics, then I would also use the media that I need for my research. So, it varies. Sometimes a lot, around March 8th really a lot (laughs), but it really depends.
Which feminist media are you consuming? Above, you mentioned some Slovene media, what about international media?
A: I’d say that I’m not so much following international media but more books, feminist art shows, readers – readers are really good research material. So, that’s more likely.
Are there any examples of feminist media that inspired you in your work in Sektor Ž?
A: Not so much. I must say I don’t know any similar radio show. I would love to find out if there is any; you can provide me that information through these interviews. That would be great. And I would really love to make a connection with them, formally.
Ok. What about your work in general?
A: It’s influential in the way that these women thinkers – they could also be men – who are writing for these magazines are the basis for what I’m thinking of. I can fully agree or disagree, but they are the basis of what I’m doing.
Formation process of your media
Please could you tell us about the formation process of Sektor Ž. How did it all start – even though you weren’t there from the start?
A: Well, I know that much that there were different editorial positions taken by different editors. It started from the need to reflect … Because in the 90’s, all these ideas that spread through queer theory … Different activist groups established a radio session every Saturday at 1 pm. Basically, they squatted it: the anarchists, the lesbians and the feminists. So we have 1 hour for that show or 40 minutes, depending on how long you want to make it. We exchange this time slot. It all started in the late 90’s, I think. I am not in contact with the women who established it [Katja Grabnar, Eva Horvat] but it was a kind of response to everything that was going on, also at the Faculty of Arts where all these studies started: queer studies, feminist studies …
You mean women’s studies – there were no queer studies.
A: Yes, sorry, women’s studies. So, two women established it and they were running it also, I think, in response to what Delta was doing, to all the female writers who are nowadays still predominant in feminist theory in Slovenia. For the two, three, or even four, five years when they were having this show it was more theory based, more hard core theory, just reading from material and interpreting it, taking different position on the historization of feminism, of feminist writers and so on. When Jasmina Jerant took it over she re-focused the whole show and made it more connected to social issues which meant that she reacted on any kind of injustice or what she detected as a problem. She was in constant communication with the defender of human rights and was doing more social-based things because she felt that purely theory does not respond to, does not have the effect it could if it’s just printed out in a reader for a specific audience. For the general audience and especially for the radio format you cannot attract people on Saturday at 1 p.m. with hard core theory. Plus, we cannot pretend that there are no social problems and we cannot pretend that we can sit in our ivory tower of theory and think that everything is well while there are so many issues and problems.
I basically took over this format from Jasmina because I really agree with it. I do address theorists – but by talking with them live, not interpreting what they’ve written. I think live talk is much more appealing for the listeners; short 10 minute interviews plus music and a bit of interpretation. But what I constantly kind of collide into is the fact that most … that the general public still interprets feminism through the damage that the Seconds Wave feminism has done with militant feminism. Most of the people, the general public I speak to – including lots of women – they reject feminism because of this strange stereotype that is completely strange to me, but at the same time people are thinking like that. So, what do you … You know? I fell into a digression now.
The discussion about the reasons for anti-feminism is a big one, definitely. But if we return to the question: if I understand you correctly, the second idea or format of the show is based more on a journalistic approach that deals with poignant issues and is interested in challenging this anti-feminism.
A: On course, on different levels. And we’re kind of trying to detect and promote women who are doing something. Not to pretend that I’m a theorist but I really take the role of a journalist who wants to enable public space for women who are doing something which I detect as being very good. Either in publishing or in some sort of social activities for women or… Lots of times, perhaps too many times, I address fine arts because I come from that field.
You described the way the concept of the show changed throughout the years very nicely. Could you say, looking back, how did the show change since you are part of it – even though you partly already answered this question – maybe also in relation to Jasmina Jerant’s work.
A: I’d say I read the newspapers less and go to galleries more. It’s just my different interests, I detect different stories. I try to emphasise Jasmina’s points of view more because I think her work really had an effect, she made agitations that did actually contribute to … you know, she wrote open letters to the defender of human rights and I think this is the role I should address more or I haven’t done it enough. It’s been a year and a half since she has given me (laughs) her show and this is one of the things I wish I could address more. With the focus I have, I try to address more reading and viewing, and not so much this social engagement even though I am in contact with women who are creating space for feminism and for women. I’m less of an activist than Jasmina was to be frank, sadly.
Process of making media
Can you describe the process of making your media? The question is divided in 3 parts:
- how many people are involved in the process of making?
- who are the people involved (age, education, occupation, background)?
- are you working in a collective in flux or in a stable group?

A: Before, there was a collective. I was trying to work in a collective with two other women. One was not particularly feminist from my point of view but was just intrigued by the topic. I think feminism was more of a keyword for her. The other one, Julija Srdalič, was doing her Masters’ degree and she never had time. She was mostly involved in writing about the rights of the Roma, the gypsies. She’s more involved in that and she did write some really good articles but she had a different focus. So we had tried to collaborate for about a half a year but it turned out that most of the things were done by me and I kind of felt like I have to hunt for people and beg them to write. So I did kind of an authoritarian thing and just took over. I mean Jasmina said I should take it over because someone has to take care of the show but then I stopped communicating with them because it was exhausting me. Of course, I am open to other contributions but I will not beg people to contribute. So when I stopped begging they stopped sending stuff.
I guess it’s both-sided.
A: Yes, so that was one of the things. I’m sorry for Julija Srdalič because she’s really active and she was a good contributor a couple of times. And then what I do is I usually try to think of the construction of the show. Usually, it has to have at least three different topics which we address. One is the current situation, I call it the “Femi-News” section, where I point out a couple of news items about things that will be going on in this field in the next couple of months; a workshop, an exhibition, a lecture or whatever I pick out of all the things; or if there is a publication or something. And then I choose two basic topics. As I said, I write a lot about publications; it can be literary publications, film, any sort of art form or theory that is currently around – topics that haven’t been addressed for a while, like the problem with Delta or publishing feminist theory in general.
So, how many people are involved in the show now?
A: At the moment, it’s just me and the technician. But I invite people of all backgrounds even if I do talk mostly to people with higher education. Which is maybe a pity, you know. As I said, I wish it would be more socially based in that sense.
And the people who were working on the show: were they also all educated at the university level?
A: Yes, either MA students or graduates. They came from various backgrounds; sociology, philosophy, geography… mostly humanitarian studies.
You mean humanities?
A: Humanities.
Do you co-operate with other feminist media?
A: Yes, but for me media is not just something that is printed out, it can be a festival or a film or … Any feminist content that is in the social sphere – I mean, not any, I pick it out. That’s one of the things I try to do: I try not to give it just one topic but have a red thread through the show. Once, for example with Julija, the red thread was Roma women, once it was women in Iran but I think that’s too plain, I don’t want to label it that way.
Are you part of any feminist, queer or lesbian networks?
A: Not really. That’s also one of the things ... I was trying to make a mailing list with everything – for a while, we were sending out notifications that the show is going to happen. But otherwise, as I said, we’re regular promoters of other stuff. You know that we’re always covering Red Dawns or City of Women or any kind of activity that comes along. But it’s not so much a network, I’d say.
Still, if I understand you correctly, you personally know most of the people, associations, etc. which do involve feminist points of view in their work in Slovenia.
A: Yes.
So, in that way, you are part of this network.
A: Yes, but not formally. You know, we’re not in a project together and we don’t exchange content. But I’m picking out the content so I’m sure that the link to our show also gets sent around to those who are interested. But that’s all very informal.
Again, how do you position your media in relation to wider feminist or political movements; whether you frame that nationally or internationally, does not matter to me.
A: I don’t think there is such a thing here. There is a small local community which has about 500 sympathizers, I think. What would you say? Give or take – a hundred?
I really don’t know …
A: And we basically all know each other and follow each other’s work; I know what gets published in arts and theory. Luckily, we also have some male theorists who are talking about feminist issues or who are incorporating this thin layer of feminism that covers everything, in a sense. So there are these big … well, centres where people circulate; that would be the Peace Institute or the Workers’-Punks’ University. This is where most of these people kind of circulate. I think this network is loose; it’s not like a program one could follow. There’s also no political movement that one could follow, not even globally. I mean, what is global feminism? It’s a keyword that doesn’t really mean that much. There are really nice local initiatives which you were also involved in, like Vstaja Lezbosov [The Insurrection of Lesbos activist group.]. That was one of the things where 20 or 30 women collaborated. But it’s very rare that there would be a platform like that. And I don’t think I have the pretence of making this platform. I am more interested in addressing people who would never think of themselves as feminists – that they would try to listen to the topics, you know?
So, the show has more of an educative purpose?
A: Yes, in a way.
The question also involved wider political movements in Slovenia. So, to reframe the question in the sense of the Slovene political and activist landscape – is that a more realistic frame in Slovene conditions?
A: I think I’m a constant sympathizer of, say, the Anarchist Infoshop. Or Café Open, that’s also one of the locations where significant events happen. Usually, I am not the organiser of that. I just follow. So, I can’t say that I’m an active creator of a platform. It would be too pretentious.
The question is how you position your media in relation to wider political movements. Could you say that as a show, you are not formally connected to anyone locally but personally and as a journalist you are?
A: Ok, if I understand this question correctly … Of course, when you structure a show you always have a certain ideology that’s behind it. And this ideology is meant to open up the sphere and I’m not trying to ghettoize my topic, I’m trying to open it up. That’s why I was speaking about this soft feminism before, against militant feminism. Soft feminism in the sense that I could address really hard feminist topics but the way I do it is soft in the sense that it tries to address a very wide audience. But at the same time … Do you know what I mean?
No, because I don’t know whether you’re talking about the language you use or about the political viewpoints.
A: About vocabulary. The political viewpoint is often cynical, humorous, it could be a parody, I could make fun of other media … I could always position myself in relation to the queer, anarchist landscape with the topics I address and the way how I address them. But the way I do it is really soft. And that’s actually not my idea. There was a comment by one of the listeners. A few listeners actually told me: “Oh, I really like it, you talk about these really hard issues but you talk so … you know, it’s all so acceptable…” How can I say this? You know, I’m a really feminine feminist; I really like to address my femininity in a kitsch way, and I can say that in some sort of way, with the way I say things, and the form I’m presenting them in, I am very kitsch. I play all this cute music – and it’s feminist music, but it can be cute and soft and melancholic, and it could be angry but the whole formal frame of the show is made to be acceptable by a lot of people. Maybe I’ve learned that in visual arts: when analysing a show of visual arts, it’s always very significant that you analyse the form and the content separately. And then there are other elements. But the form and the content correspond to each other; sometimes you pick up a form because you want to say the content in that way and as I said, one of my goals is to actually destroy the stereotype of militant feminism.
What exactly do you mean by militant feminism?
A: At the end of 60’s, beginning of 70’s, in the second wave feminism, it was of course very important to address social issues in a very aggressive way and put out very outgoing protests and very violent expressions of … You know, Valerie Solanas shooting Any Warhol, for example – that was militant feminism. She was a militant feminist. A lot of these cases from the 70’s structured a certain stereotype of feminism: “Oh, this is something aggressive, this is something that has to do with a very small number of people”. A lot of women who are feminists – like Marina Abramović – she does not want to be called a feminist because she does not want to be associated with women who are the same age as she is, who grew up or did most of their important work in the 70’s, for example – she does not want to be associated with them while others want to be, like Valie Export. She wants to be identified as a feminist but it’s a different standpoint. People reject even the idea of thinking about your rights as a woman in terms of feminism. For them, feminism is a keyword they want to avoid no matter that they work as feminists. And this is the stereotype that I would like to dissolve or destroy with the form of my show.
Completely different topic: which skills are important to produce your media?
A: You gotta love computers. And you have to know about music, you have to love to listen to music. And I’m one of the worst pirates (laughs) – I download so much music. I really lost all moral dilemmas about downloading music a long time ago. So, working with computers, audio editing, and knowing which music goes with which music, you know, how you compose an audio show. And one last thing that’s very important for us all: the shows are spoken live, that’s why the written material is not really long. Because I’m not a professional speaker even though we are all trained as professional speakers; obviously not as much as those who are doing this professionally but well enough that you know which verbal skills you have to be careful about. I usually have very little text to be read live on air and most of the show is made out of live talks with other protagonists. Usually I will write about 3 radio pages which is about 6 or 7 minutes of the whole show.
What would you describe as the main content of your media? How do you choose the content? You said that already, I think.
A: Yes, I said that already. I don’t want to repeat it.
Sure. And where do you produce the media? Do you have an office or do you work at home?
A: I’m a precarious worker. Since the show is on Saturday, half of the show is made at home in bed with my lap top. But I have an office with another organisation I work for as well and I have access to work in an office at the radio. So I could work there but it’s a little off my way; so, at home and at various offices.
Do you get funding for you media?
A: Yes, the Ministry of Culture supports the show and we get 25 € for one hour.
That’s what you get paid for doing the show?
A: Yes.
And is it supported directly or do they support the whole radio and …
A: Yes, the whole radio, so if you look at a theory show that lasts for one hour, its’ paid – at the same radio – 40 €, so the pay is really low. It’s a non-profit organisation in the sense that part of the ideology of the whole radio is also that it does not sell itself out, in a way, so it wouldn’t do stupid commercials because it does not agree with … I mean, if we cannot be cynical about consumerism we’d be promoting that way, then I wouldn’t be doing it.
How do you promote and disseminate your media?
A: There’s a very appealing jingle that was already made by Jasmina. It announces a radio show “for incapable women” (laughs). It’s kind of a funny thing – since one of the “facts” also states that feminists cannot make fun of us. It’s to show that we do have a sense of humour. That jingle is played 3 times prior to the airing in the weekdays. And yes, I should have been sending emails which I am not doing now but I have to do that.
Is the show archived online?
A: Yes, online. It’s accessible online together with all the texts. I’m really paying attention to that. Since I’ve been editing it, I made sure that everything is accessible online.
What are the challenges of producing your own media? And what obstacles do you face?
A: The thing is that there are no real big obstacles apart from the fact that I’ a really busy person who does not know how to organise her time very well (laughs). That’s one of the obstacles, a personal one. From the media point of view – and I think I was also talking with Red about this – the fact is that none of my editors have ever pressured or censured me that I cannot publish very hard core or straight forward, very on edge feminist statements. If I ever wanted to I could – and did – publish quite a lot of very harsh critiques. It was never a problem, not even at the daily newspaper which is like the second biggest newspaper in the country, Dnevnik. It was never a problem. I had two editors there and they were always very open to any kind of criticism, any form of political parody, whatever I wanted to do. If I chose a topic, and if it’s current – it can’t be just something, taken from air, it has to be current – I could publish just about anything; even more so at the radio. There, I’m also promoted as … I say that I am the “dežurna feministka”, how do you say that? “The feminist on shift” (laughs)? So, if something is going on, the editor would pass me the work.
There are no real obstacles whereas the challenges … I would really like to make happen all these things which we address today, the idea of a platform. The greatest challenge for me is to know who I’m actually addressing; who listens to the show, what’s the audience. I always have in view – when I speak – a certain audience that might be listening to the show. And quite a few times I got a response and I know that even when I was still a student, in the late 90’s, I was always listening to this radio during the weekend because I was the only one who staying in this student flat, so I was playing the music really loud and listening to the radio. I was the follower of this show – and also of the lesbian show and the anarchist shows – since they began. So, the challenge is to know who I’m addressing and ideally, I would like it that I would get more response, some sort of commentary. But I would have to invest much more time in communicating the show – not just through the radio but also through other channels, like Facebook and other social networks.
What is the feminist self understanding of your media? In this context, I allow myself to expand the question also to lesbian and queer politics since it is very hard to separate them, especially here.
A: In my pre pre last show, I was writing a very short critique about an exhibition called Slovene Feminist Art bla bla bla which was done in a very … I could feel it was done as though it avoided lesbian and queer activism and art or art that addressed these topics purposely in order to package it as feminism. It was just very bizarre how it wanted to identify itself as a pure form. In Slovenia, as we know, since real feminist activism started to spread in the 80’s, these two things were completely intertwined and they cannot be separated, you cannot look at one separately from the other. There are differences, of course, in the group that one addresses but the purpose is basically the same: emancipation of anybody who could be identified as the “Other” or the one who has not gained equal social status to the male dominant hetero … Because these categories – male, hetero – when we were talking about obstacles earlier – this is the obstacle that strangles also most of the male friends we have, people we communicate with. It’s the same stereotype they have to …
About feminism?
A: Just generally, about emancipation. It addresses everybody and it’s always this stereotype, male heterosexual power.
You mean that they don’t see how feminism could address them or – what do you mean? I don’t understand.
A: No, I’m just saying that feminism does address everything, that it’s not just about the emancipatory process of majorities and minorities because the majority does not recognize how caught up in their own world they are and how unaware of their position they are.
Ok, but what is the feminist self-understanding of your media? In the sense: which specific feminism do you advocate in your show or simply take into consideration?
A: I think queer feminism is the one I take into consideration most and also postcolonial feminism because I come from sinology studies, so I am very sensitive to any kind of eurocentrism that might infiltrate itself into the way of speaking about feminism. I think it’s a mixture of everything. For example, you have “black feminism” written here. I think that is not so much an issue in Slovenia at all but it could be the Roma feminism – that could be addressed. Or looking into other minorities that are present in Slovenia. Black feminism is something that comes from America. We can of course speak about it but we don’t really get the concept.
Yes, the issue of whiteness, race or ethnicity is completely different here, I agree. You mentioned postcolonial perspectives and queer feminism. How do you deal with these different feminisms – if you feel there is a conflict between them?
A: No, no, there is no conflict; I think there is a complete synergy between them. I think it’s not a smart thing to think about them separately because they address one another. But in specific cases, you of course get more focused on one perspective or layer, it depends what kind of material you’re dealing with. But I’m really trying to address the specific terminology that we use in Slovenia. Like, there is no good translation of “queer” so I use the term “queer”. For a long time we were using “social sex” (“družbeni spol”) for “gender” and now its promoted as only “spol” – meaning “gender”, not “sex”. I trust the women researchers who have established this translation and shortened “družbeni spol” to “spol” because if you know which framework we speak in, then you know that if you translate “sex” as “spol”, you actually mean “gender”.
This is more of a language issue, I think it’s not really translatable to English.
A: No, its not. But every language has to … You know, like you said that black feminism does not really apply here because it’s a different social situation and I think that in terms of a certain link between languages, you also deal with different topics.
I mean, I think that using black feminism as an example here was a bad idea because if it was reframed as “antiracist feminism”, then it would be easier to identify with this position in this space. On the other hand, black feminism in the US developed its own methodologies so again, you have to know what you’re talking about to even dare to simply rename it to “antiracist feminism” ‘cause it might not be the same thing. Maybe black feminism could apply to Western Europe but here … I don’t know.
A: I would also like to use “soft feminism” what I tried to explain earlier. Maybe “pop feminism” would fit that but I don’t identify with it.
Actually, the question is whether you could describe the kind of feminism that is represented in your media.
A: I think I’ve done that. You know, I use feminism daily. As a woman I daily detect or I try to detect every possible sense of inequality – not only concerning feminism but different sorts of discrimination so I think it’s about a certain sensitivity that you develop. I was talking about this with Red, also. Feminism is the sensitivity to inequality and it does not have to necessarily do with a straightforward slogan like “I’m a feminist!” It’s infiltrated in every aspect of your life and I try to do very similarly with the show: to infiltrate this topic into every possible thing; to society because it is a structural part of it.
Is there a specific feminism that’s really important for your show?
A: Well, it depends. Certain theorists are. I’m really influenced by Donna Haraway, for example, I’m really trying to follow this evolution-based …
Like, posthumanism?
A: Yeah … Well, I’m not sure about posthumanism. I try to follow what comes up as a new theory. I think what Donna Haraway has said over ten years ago still applies to this period, it’s still useful. If you look – I think that in any decade, in any age, there is a new form or stress in feminism that is more suitable for the current situation and it is stated by one of the theorists. I think this is really good. I really like that Elizabeth Grosz book that has just been translated …
Volatile Bodies?
A: Yes. I think it corresponds to that. Any kind of this writing, I’m really influenced by it. It gives me a lot of … brainpower, I think.
So, it’s more about individual voices and specific claims that it is about a generalised notion of feminisms as currents?
A: Yes. Because it’s harder for me to speak of feminism; it’s not structured as a platform, at least not in Slovenia or former Yugoslavia. I’d say we don’t have all these currents in Slovenia, they don’t exist, as a platform we’re all just one local scene. Whereas if you look at the anarchists, being kitschy as I am, when I come to the Anarchist Infoshop sometimes it’s really strange for me because most of the people are semi-uniformed there and I do not identify myself with a certain group in that sort of way. But that does not mean that I don’t have similar ideas.
Media Production and media careers
Can you make a living from working as an editor and from writing? How did this evolve?
A: Yes and no. What is “making a living?” I’m living in a rented flat and bla bla but … yes, most of the work I do is writing or also organising and corresponding and so, half of my income comes solely from writing.
But not just from writing for the radio show.
A: No, of course not! No, 25 € is not enough (laughs). Not really. Half of my income comes from writing for magazines, newspapers, also for exhibitions and catalogues, stuff like that. Half of my income comes from working with the video archive at the SCCA [Center for Contemporary Art SCCA-Ljubljana].
How did this evolve?
A: I have a very good answer to that actually: Never think about money when you get into something, just do it. But at the same time, be aware that you are a slave to a precarious situation. When you come to the stage of realizing that, do not be depressed because that’s just the way it is, the reality. So I always work out of passion and love for either art or theory or … I really like to have what I call one little thing that’s “tickling my brain”. So that’s it.
Could you say that making the show specifically has helped you in developing your career as a journalist or art critic? In what ways, if it did?
A: I think that writing about feminism is actually not my main focus. If I could speak about a career, it’s more based in visual arts and intermedia art. Feminism is just something I have to do. I think it’s such an important thing to address. It’s a hobby (laughs).
So, as far as the feminist writing is concerned it’s not a career.
A: Not really, not a career and I don’t want to make it a career. I’d say that when it comes to the artists, there is a difference between women artists who are doing feminist art and feminist artists whose main focus is feminism. They’re different. I’m more of a person who would just use feminism in their daily life. I wouldn’t take it as my basic research material but would do all kinds of different research and infiltrate feminism into that.
In what ways does your media project intersect with activism or broader political engagements in your life (if it does)? Again, definitions of activism and broader political engagement are subject to … Well, they’re different.
A: There are … What is a political engagement? Is it enough to publish stuff, give issues a voice?
I think this depends on how you see it.
A: In a way it is. I can be very harsh but I always wonder about activism. Activism is a very utilitarian action; it has to have its purpose, and it has to have its consequences and goals. I’m not measuring my effects, you know. I am throwing something out into that space but I’m not sure what it achieves and I am not necessarily going for a very straightforward effect.
In the sense of immediate effects?
A: Yes. Immediate effects, yes, that’s how I define activism. But in another sense what I got into with the project of Marija Mojca Pungerčar … I have written to the defender of human rights saying that this project was made about the discrimination of …
The Mortality Tables project?
A: Yes, that it’s about violating the rights of elderly women and so on. I do address the people who I think are in power to do something politically, to have a real effect. But I don’t know if I’m actually changing something because it’s a very long process. Certainly, I wouldn’t do it if I thought that it doesn’t have any effect on some meta level.
Thank you for the interview!
Tea Hvala

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