On the edge of Language and the Seen: Six Views of Women and the Invisible

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Jin Young Yu

Jin Young Yu The Disguised, 2009

“It was too simple to define them as “the alienated people” or “the depressed people”. Instead, I thought that I, or we, could easily be one of them. My works are about people who, instead of getting along with others, choose to keep a distance from them, and be invisible or be left alone unconcerned. Instead of trying to fit into the world, they climb into a space of their own and reject other people’s intrusions.”  Jin Young Yu

Jin Young Yu interview at Arrested Motion. See the complete work of “The Disguised” at Union.


Maryvonne Saison

“Literature is less the concern of literary history than the concern of the people. Literature (or one could just as well say art in general) is what is liable to create this overlap between the private and the collective, this coalescence or even transmutation of the private into the collective, via an artistic gesture in which the autonomy of art or the prerogative of the author is no longer valid. The space of art becomes the place where a revolution capable of constituting a people in the name of culture is prefigured. ”

From “The People Are Missing”    2008

Read the entire essay here. From a perspective of Jacques Rancière and Gilles Deleuze, Saison’s philosophical exploration argues for an art which initiates the creative and resistant construction of individuality.


 Adrienne Rich

What Kind of Times Are These  (1995)

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill

and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows

near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted

who disappeared into those shadows.

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled

this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,

our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,

its own ways of making people disappear.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods

meeting the unmarked strip of light—

ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:

I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you

anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these

to have you listen at all, it’s necessary

to talk about trees.

Born in Baltimore in 1929 Adrienne Rich was to free her poetic work with the hopeful and determined urgency of the issues of sexual politics and philosophy of identity in her 1963 publication Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law: Poems 1954-1962.   Though her work from this groundbreaking collection, and though out the rest of her career, was to use a poetic system employing insistent tempo, asymmetrical stanzas and sentence lengths with relentless ruptures, this was applied with a conscious openness to explore a “non-poetic” system of the language (within the structures of poetry) where she strived to interrogate a poetics of social justice and the voice of the disenfranchised within language.  Her best known of anthology of poems, the collection Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972 (1973, entire text here and lead poem”Diving” can be read here), won her the recognition of the National Book Award which she accepted with fellow recipients, Audre Lorde and Alice Walker, for the true writers of their insights: All women.  Along with a unyielding and meticulous body of poetry Rich was to publish a number of books on the issues of feminism and the social and one of her last publications in this regard A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society (2009) is seen as a classic regarding art and the feminist critique.  Rich died on March 27 2012.

For more information and poems see here.


Valie Export

Unsichtbare Gegner [Invisible Adversaries] (1976)

Valie Export is a seminal figure in exploring the intersections and containments of language and subjectivity. One of the earliest female artists to exploit video and its performative crux, Export’s work explored the notions of normative representation and the socially constructed nature of the individual. Her consistent and resistant abandonment of a medium specific practice was a means to give a narrative explication of the capturing gaze inherent in the mechanisms of the social and detail how it restricts the creation of personhood. This examination in her work presented the representational in order to overtly become a means of deconstructive critique of the artificial impositions in the social.  The above work, Invisible Adversaries, searches out the integration/impositions of social ideologies and how this alienates the individual from conscious constructions of the self. In a phrase, “We all become other to ourselves”.

Homepage of Valie Export.


Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono, Road Of Hope 2011

Part of the Imagine Peace project, Road of Hope is from the Mori Art MuseumYoko Ono website here


Consumption of the Human Invisible.

Human Traffiking

Human trafficking : Unprotected Work, Invisible Exploitation: Trafficking for the Purpose of Domestic Servitude


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