This is an invitation to join a one-hour reading of Zoe Leonard’s 1992 text “I want a president…”
The reading will be both in Arabic and English and take place at Nutford Place on Edgware Road (London, W2).
The reading marks the commencement of Alia Farid’s ‘A Stage for Any Revolution’ developed through the Serpentine Galleries’ Centre for Possible Studies/Edgware Road Project and presented during the Shubbak Festival.
An invitation to read together on the eve of the UK General Election.
Organised in relation to the exhibition Manifesto Show: Act I, artist Kajsa Dahlberg joined a public discussion focused on a series of collective readings that she has been involved in organising with collaborators Malin Arnell, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund.
The on-going project began as an invitation, circulated by the group amongst their community in Stockholm, asking people to come together to read in unison a text written by Zoe Leonard in 1992. Organised to coincide with 2010 General Election, the reading was a ‘response to an increasingly neoliberal political climate in a country just about to give space in parliament to an upcoming fascist, racist and homophobic party’. It took place in Sergels Torg, a public square with long history of political activity that is situated in the centre of the city. It was never anticipated that the event, which was initiated by the group out of political urgency and not articulated within the context of their artistic practice, would continue to have a life beyond this first iteration. Yet, in response to further invitations from various individuals and institutions, the readings have subsequently happened in various centres across Europe.
The conversation between Dahlberg and UK based curator Laura Guy coincided with both the Swedish General Election and an important referendum, to establish the independence of Scotland, in the UK. It was motivated by a desire for a reading to take place in the UK in relation to the forthcoming General Election in 2015.
In dialogue with the themes of the exhibition, the event will attempt to unpack the project in relation to ideas of translation, temporality, feminist collectivity and forms of political speech.
Dieffenbachstraße 31, 10967 Berlin
San Juan, Monday November 5 2012, 4:15 pm at Plazoleta del Centro Minillas frente al Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, avenida de DiegoPosted: November 5, 2012
Agnès Giard wrote a short note on our reading at la Fontaine des Innocents in Paris yesterday in the Libération Next Magazine.
You can read it here (in French).
Cette lecture a lieu à l’initiative d…’activistes féministes françaises et du collectif monté par des artistes suédoises “I want a president…”.
Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund ont lu le texte de Zoe Leonard pour la première fois en suédois au moment des élections législatives de 2010, qui ont vu l’entrée au Parlement suédois de l’extrême-droite.
Elles ont ensuite participé à d’autres lectures collectives à l’invitation d’activistes féministes d’autres pays européens (Finlande, Estonie, Danemark, Espagne).
Comme elles, nous voulons rassembler des activistes, des artistes, des amiEs et des collègues pour protester contre le climat politique de plus en plus néolibéral.
Rejoignez-nous le 7 avril, à 14h à la Fontaine des Innocents à Paris pour cette lecture collective.
In his article in The Chronicle, published January 1 2012, Michael Warner writes about the history of queer and queer theory.
… What is often forgotten about that moment is that the term came from grass-roots politics before it became theory. Act Up had already made possible a politics directed against shame and normalization, and aiming at a complex mobilization of people beyond sexual identity. It in turn gave rise to other groups, including Queer Nation—whose name seemed, as I recall, mainly hilarious to all of us who heard it.
The emblematic example of that kind of street politics, for me, was an anonymous, photocopied broadside that was handed around during the 1992 primary season. (Its author, the artist Zoe Leonard, was a member of Fierce Pussy, a lesbian feminist group with roots in Act Up.) It began with a simple declaration that looked like a familiar kind of lesbian politics: “I want a dyke for president.” (In queer studies, that would now be called “homonationalism.”) But very quickly, the prose morphed into a set of wishes that, from clause to clause, gained in evocative power as they moved away from anything that might be imagined within legitimate politics. I quote the remainder in full, because it is not widely remembered or reprinted:
And further down Warner continues: … At its best, queer theory has always also been something else—something that will be left out of any purely intellectual history of the movement. Like “I want a dyke for president,” it has created a kind of social space. Queer people of various kinds, both inside and outside academe, continue to find their way to it, and find each other through it. In varying degrees, they share in it as a counterpublic…
Michael Warner is a professor and chair of the department of English, and a professor of American studies, at Yale University. Among his books is The Trouble With Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life (Free Press, 1999).
Below is the invitation, as it was stated on facebook:
Soon there will be a presidential election in Finland. We are gathering in the name of art and democracy. We who dream of another system. We who dream of something better. Join us for a collective reading at Kolmen sepän aukio, one day before the election! We will be reading Zoe Leonards I want a president… from 1992. The text will be read in Finnish, Swedish and English.
We will meet 12:45 pm at Kolmen sepän patsas. At 1 pm we will start reading, again and again, until 2 pm. Bring your heart, brain and voice!
Spread the message to everyone you know.
The action is politically independent. The collective reading project is initiated by artists Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund in collaboration with artist Zoe Leonard in connection with the Swedish parliament election in 2010. The text that is read is an adaptation of I want a president…, Zoe Leonard, 1992.
Organizer in Helsinki is the network Kulturfeministerna
Suomen presidentinvaalit ovat kohta. Kokoonnumme taiteen ja demokratian nimessä. Me jotka unelmoimme toisenlaisesta järjestelmästä. Me jotka unelmoimme jostain paremmasta. Tule mukaan kollektiiviseen lukemiseen Kolmen sepän aukiolla päivää ennen vaaleja! Luemme Zoe Leonardin I want a president… vuodelta 1992. Teksti luetaan suomeksi, ruotsiksi ja englanniksi.
Tapaamme klo 12:45 Kolmen sepän patsaalla. Aloitamme klo 13, ja jatkamme lukemista, yhä uudestaan ja uudestaan, klo 14 saakka.
Tuo sydämesi, aivosi ja äänesi mukaan! Levitä viestiä kaikille jotka tunnet.
Aktio on poliittisesti riippumaton. Kollektiivinen lukeminen on taiteilijoiden Malin Arnellin, Kajsa Dahlbergin, Johanna Gustavssonin ja Fia-Stina Sandlundin yhteistyössä Zoe Leonardin kanssa aloittama projekti Ruotsin eduskuntavaalien yhteydessä 2010. Luettavat tekstit on vapaasti käännetty Zoe Leonardin tekstistä I want a president…, 1992.
Järjestäjä Helsingissä on Kulturfeministerna verkosto
Snart är det presidentval i Finland. I konsten och demokratins namn samlar vi nu ihop oss. Vi som drömmer om ett annat system. Vi som drömmer om något bättre. Kom med i en kollektiv läsning på Tre Smeders plats dagen före valen! Vi läser Zoe Leonards I want a president… från 1992. Texten kommer att läsas på finska, svenska och engelska.
Vi samlas vid Tre smeder kl 12.45. Kl 13.00 börjar vi läsa, om och om igen, fram till kl 14. Ta med dig hjärtat, hjärnan och rösten!
Sprid meddelandet vidare till alla som du känner.
Aktionen är politiskt obunden. Det kollektiva läsningen är initierad av konstnärerna Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson och Fia-Stina Sandlund i samarbete med konstnären Zoe Leonard i samband med det svenska riksdagsvalet 2010. Texterna som läses är fria översättningar av I want a president…, Zoe Leonard, 1992.
Arrangör i Helsingfors är nätverket Kulturfeministerna
We found this video uploaded by dufpearl2 on Nov 21, 2011
The state of the political debate in Spain has been of increasing importance and urgency for the public opinion, situation that has been especially stressed by the growing economic crisis and its deep implications in the transformation of the democratic context in matters of popular sovereignty and representativity.
Since May 2011 several protests have been taking place across the country, reclaiming the sequestered representation of the population’s will within the government’s legislative and economic measures, criticising the given construct of the “political class”. The escalation of tension between the right wing opposition, the ruling left wing party and the openly manifested discontent of the population have determined the decision to bring the presidential election forward to November 20th 2011. Given the aforementioned political coordinates the four performers have been invited to realize the public reading of Zoe Leonard’s text.
The claims expressed in Leonard’s text reveal similar political demands and concerns to the ones performed by the protesters in Spain, proving the validity of the text and the importance and urgency of its vindications. The decision to revisit those concerns through their deployment in the public realm and inviting the population to participate have somehow updated the pre-existing text’s content and explored different possibilities for its diffusion and reactive potential. In light of the ways art penetrates the political, and accounting the open similarities between the characteristics of the piece and the demonstrations, it seems like further framings for its realization are no longer needed. The course of events has created the environment in which this action has escaped is contingency to become a necessity, a reaction to the absence in the perception of the situation, an intervention in its deployment as agents instead of spectators.
With the support of IASPIS, The Swedish Arts Grants Committeé’s International Program for Visual Artists