In the context of our Year of the Women* the exhibition Radical – Lesbian – Feminist focuses, for the first time ever in a museum, on the history and importance of the HAW Women’s Group (“Homosexuelle Aktion Westberlin”) and of LAZ, which stands for “Lesbisches Aktionszentrum.”
The founders of this first aggressive feminist lesbian group of the 1970s in West-Germany came from anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist left wing movements (all part of the 1968 student movement). These movements rarely discussed dominant heteronormative and patriarchal social structures. First started as a women’s group within the “Homosexual Action West-Berlin” (HAW), they became LAZ and were active from 1972 to 1982. Then they dissolved.
As part of the ever-changing historic overview exhibition Change of Scenery the temporary show Radical – Lesbian – Feminist documents the initial cooperation of lesbians with the HAW men’s group, as well as the productive collaboration and exchange between lesbian and autonomous women’s centers.
A multitude of priviously unpublished original documents, vintage photographs, recordings and treasures from private collections (such as personally ‘enhanced’ LPs and musical instruments) illustrate the militant forms of resistance, the inventive forms of protest, and the many publications that came forth from LAZ. They document a “lust for lesbian life.” Also the visions from back then – the ideal of a “Lesbian Nation” – are highlighted with photos from various lesbian summer camps throughout Europe, parties with the Flying Lesbians as resident rock band, creative projects surrounding lesbian print products, but also photos of self-defense and self-help groups.
It’s the aim of the exhibition to highlight the political relevance of the HAW Women’s Group and LAZ, and to point out how the projects and many activities from back then still influence our lives today.
What has changed? What remains? What is yet to come? The goal of the curators is a revival of LAZ, turning it into a “LAZ Reloaded” movement that should, in the future, be part of the E2H project (Elberskirchen-Hirschfeld-Haus).
The curators are Christiane Härdel, Regina Krause, Monne Kühn, plus Wolfgang Theis, one of the founders of Schwules Museum. It’s a close collaboration with many other activists and former members/allies of HAW/LAZ.
YEAR OF THE WOMEN* is supported by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa (Senate Department for Culture and Europe).