Feeling and thinking feminist art practices under capitalism
To the rhythm of perreo, glittering lights bounce in different points of the sky.
Are they airplanes? UFOs? witches? a Pokémon coven?
Oh, it’s INVASORIX!
While crossing outer space they bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, to communicate with each other. During their transgalactic travels, the mutant corporeality they share sometimes takes the form of an earthly body, light, slippery amoeba or a tentacular mass. They travel in something that we, the earthly bodies, can recognize as a “ship”, but it is not possible to say for certain that it is. In the distance you can see that they have drawn their feminist-cuir tarot deck.
They’re about to draw from the deck!
It is not surprising that they congregate for a reading; INVASORIX have found in the tarot a strategy to delve into their collective body, to share their feelings, to listen to each other and to imagine their future. And well, here among us, they’ve been on the outs for a few months now. Unsatisfied! Well, between travel and travel, and jetlags of unlearning, experiencing the complexity of inhabiting an earthly body and tracing trajectories in the artistic-cultural field of planet Earth, these mutant beings have understood, with blows and stumbles, that the system demands great sacrifices—economic, affective, and that of time—to imagine, create and sustain their feminist artistic practices despite the extractivist logics of neoliberal capitalism. With their chests heaving, INVASORIX babble laments and illusions, they melt in an embrace, a question crosses their bodies and in chorus they chant it loud and clear:
What have we sacrificed to sustain our artistic practices that come from feminisms within the extractivist logics of neoliberal capitalism?
The first card is drawn. For an instant everything shines and suddenly a silent darkness envelops them… THE XVIII ARCANA, THE MOON manifests itself!
Oh no! What is happening?
In an inverted position, the arcane reveals to us that we have sacrificed happiness in place of our work, and that has brought us confusion, pains and collective and individual anxieties. On planet Earth the relationship of the Moon and the Sun has proposed a vital rhythm, the Moon has accompanied immemorially the different beings in their processes of rest, detoxification, recharge and reverie, that rhythm has been distorted! Now the Moon is waiting for us to look back at it, and reminds us that in order to be able to work joyfully, it is necessary to respect those moments when we do not have to work.
Hyperproductivity within the neoliberal capitalist system has impaired all areas of human life, it seems that the times and spaces that matter are those that give rise to productivity and, in that order, those that creeate are the human beings that matter. This normalized earthly vice is based on the reification of life, as our imaginary friend Rita Segato calls it, and has hierarchized all living and inert matter in the universe. It has also demolished elementary conditions, such as sleep, play and leisure, for a joyful and dignified life. Of course, it has also affected the way in which artistic work is carried out, and although it is enunciated from a feminist political commitment, it finds itself in the dilemma of dealing with these overwhelming and disheartening logics: how tiring, painful and fucked up to escape from the inertia in which we are involved and end up reproducing!
However, we have seen that for certain humans who also enunciate their artistic practices from a feminist position, it has not been a problem and, on the contrary, they have seen in this a way to mine and take advantage of the capitalist machinery, as we talked about in the Intensive Full-Body Training: 10 Intergalactic Exercises For Artistic, Ethical and Feminist Homes:
As our imaginary friend Coco Fusco points out, we have the task of participating critically in analyzing the relationship of our practices with the systemic logics of both institutional practices and the artistic-cultural field. How do we seek other values that challenge/shake/break down this reification of life? What makes these practices feminist?
It seems that in the system in which we find ourselves there is only time to be productive—we did not learn much from the forced slowdown that the pandemic brought—, this has caused us to neglect and sacrifice the invisible and core forms that sustain our practices: emotions, communications, energies, ways of bonding and recognizing ourselves, as well as our intuitive, spontaneous, even magical and spiritual processes. Even so, the inverted THE MOON represents a degree of awareness to develop other rhythms that nourish us in the exercise of our practices, and allow us to create other ways of dancing. The lunar phases are a reminder that there is an energy that is depleted and it is necessary to modulate it. If we do not also seek times of waning, as well as times of growth, our fears and ghosts will be relentless and will lead us to madness. We need a cyclical perspective of doing!
Why don’t we want to inhabit darkness? Why can’t we move away from the solar imperative that represents productive, active, visible energy? An unlearning could be: honor the moon, the sun will rise again.
Cover up, this the tarot draw was a bit too cold. I’m speechless, oh, INVASORIX! How mutant they are, so devoted. With a fearful hand but still hopeful, they draw the next card. So far, they are optimistic that things will get better. BUUUUTTTTTTT NOOOOOOO!!!! THE I ARCANA, THE MAGICIAN, also inverted, is revealed!
(T.T) Oh, pain, you strike us again!
THE MAGICIAN, is an arcane that is very connected to creativity, is someone who does not possess magical powers in itself, but who has the tools and the right knowledge to materialize in front of their eyes all the wonders and desires that inhabit their heart. THE MAGICIAN speaks to us of the presence of available powers that can be activated, not activated or badly activated, and this is why we see them very closely related to the figure of the artist, because all of their work depends on knowledge, skills, imagination and desires to transform the available materials into something completely new and different.
THE MAGICIAN, through their work, unite the spiritual and material parts of reality, they are channeler of energies, but being inverted in this spread, it shows us that the desiring, vital and creative energy that mobilizes the artistic community has been distorted due to an energetic imbalance. The artistic system in capitalism has implanted in the trajectories of the artists the imperative to always keep moving, producing and being visible: even when you don’t want to, even when you are very tired, sad or angry! This anxious inertia of art production in capitalism robs THE MAGICIAN of its creative energy and commodifies it, which ends up prioritizing quantity of works over quality, results over processes and objects over people, turning artistic work into a mechanical process, without joy or heart. The artists represented in inverted THE MAGICIAN self-exploit themselves to align themselves with the long and intricate chains of performance in which the cultural system is sustained, as our imaginary friend Remedios Zafra warns us:
In capitalism, joy is transformed into duty, creativity into formula, and the whole operation is unbalanced; the tools THE MAGICIAN only represents the production of capital, symbolic or material, and not to take care of the life and emotions of the implicated. The powers on the table of THE MAGICIAN are also us: each and every one of the beings that make up the collectivity, who, in harmony, can achieve everything we imagine and the utopias we have not yet invented! When the card is inverted, it shows us the inability to collaborate harmoniously and effectively, it reveals an imbalance of the elements and powers.
On planet Earth, we have learned the hard lesson that relationships between earthly beings are often crossed by expectations, demands, selfishness, jealousy, fears, and many other sad passions that interrupt harmony and creativity. If we add to this condition the financial stress that detonates the precariousness of the artistic-cultural field with its constant feeling of lack, envy and competition among peers, it is inevitable that unsustainable situations are generated! We have seen how important conversations are being left behind by urgent ones, we have fallen into the trap of thinking that to discuss our interpersonal disagreements head-on is a waste of time in the face of the high volume of production that capitalism demands of us to survive, which generates non-transparent communications and alliances, resentments and unsaid things, energies that poison the collective body and end up rotting it, decomposing the trust in shared illusions and values. As our dear Sarita Ahmed would say: “The story of how an agent of diversity cracks is the story of how the wall remains standing”.3
In this case, the wall is the inertia of the black hole of capitalism, which engulfs everything in its path, political movements, friendships, utopias and alliances, leaving the previously fertile territories of creativity and affection barren. When a collective fails and disintegrates, the possibility of one day seeing its political project come to fruition is extinguished, for if THE MAGICIAN knows one thing very well, it is that wonders and magic feed on the vital energy of those who invoke them. However, if these energies wear out, the invocation capacity of THE MAGICIAN.
Chan, chan chan, chaaaaaan! Now you are really shocked. At with this revelation, INVASORIX takes a pause.
A break for tea, as your imaginary friend Alejandra M. Vázquez would recommend. They need to return the spirit to the body, marigold tea to recover your breath, before the harsh mirror that the tarot places before them, in which many of the pains and conflicts that internally afflict their collective body were left naked, as well as in the macrocosm of the artistic-cultural system.
<<This draw continues… >>
Published on June 21, 2020, in: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBtyHVGjWgN/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Remedios Zafra, El entusiasmo. Precariedad y trabajo creativo en la era digital (Barcelona: Anagrama, 2019), 21.
Sara Ahmed, Vivir una vida feminista (Barcelona: Ed. Bellaterra, 2018), 240.
Opinion blanqueamiento por despojo Latinoamérica, Mexico