COVEN BERLIN presents EXTRA+TERRESTRIAL: an exhibition that weaves together archetypes of Otherness – the witch, the alien, the monster, and the cyborg – and reclaims them. These archetypes are often relegated to the bad, dark, foreign, and weird by mainstream media and society, from the Wizard of Oz to World War Z. COVEN’s transdisciplinary approach to the Schwules Museum Year of the Women* uses these figures as agents of solidarity across otherwise disparate LGBTIQ* communities and experiences. Bridging worlds, whether terrestrial or extra, is a way of strengthening interconnectedness. Reclaiming titles like “monster” is a way to resist the forces that Other. Art, and artists, who self-conceive and identify a relationship to the “cyborg”, do so as a part of this reclamation. EXTRA+TERRESTRIAL is a meeting point for these antiheroes.
COVEN BERLIN is a queer feminist collective that has been active in the Berlin queer, art, porn, and activist scenes since they met, via craigslist, in 2014. They are an international group who work freelance in different fields, while being committed to each other, and to Berlin as the surrogate mother for their plan-making. While COVEN is not a practicing witch-coven, COVEN’s eight members revel in the potency of their name’s metaphor for solidarity among women and queers who gather together and produce amazing things, both internally, publicly, and in relationship.
The exhibition will be a space in which digital and organic aesthetics are interconnected under the banner of Otherness. It will present works by artists Sadie Lune, Kiona Hagen Niehaus, Luiza Prado, Rurru Mipanochia, and more. E+T will also have an events program consisting of a film screening with feminist horror-film collective Final Girls Berlin, a spoken word event, a live glitch-art DJ sampling sounds from the earth’s pulse, and more.
All the archetypes E+T investigates are Others that have been used ‘in real life’ and online to develop agendas that fight oppression, violence, and patriarchal mainstream society. The witch has long been associated with womanhood beyond patriarchy, lesbianism in particular, and today’s witchcraft runs wild, from instagram to the fight for land rights. The alien, both as ‘extraterrestrial’ and ‘foreign’, has been used, especially by LGBTIQ* people of color, and in response to colonialism, as an allegory for feeling separated from a heteronormative and white supremacist society.
COVEN BERLIN and the artists of E+T explore some of these perspectives, as well as personal lived experience. The point is not to find consensus between the four archetypes, or to create a cohesive whole with the artworks that stem from these ideas. On the contrary, queer contemporary art in the context of the Schwules Museum serves to address the rich disparity of experiences as lived through these archetypes. The act of reclaiming these titles, as resistance, relocalizes power. EXTRA+TERRESTRIAL creates bridges across and between worlds, politics, knowledges, and states of consciousness.
The temporary exhibition EXTRA+TERRESTRIAL is shown at the Schwules Museum from 23 November, 2018 to 14 February, 2019.
It is curated by COVEN BERLIN.
Team: Harley Aussoleil, Frances Breden, Lorena Juan, Judy Landkammer, Kiona Hagen Niehaus, Louise Trueheart
Vernissage: 22 November, 2018, at 7 pm. (Free entry)
Guided Press Tour: 22 November, 2018, at 5 pm.
Press and Public Relations Year of the Women*
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All press images may be used exclusively to report on EXTRA+TERRESTRIAL by COVEN BERLIN. Picture credits must be used at all times.
EXTRA+TERRESTRIAL is a part of the yearlong Year of the Women* program – a concerted queer feminist intervention. The Year of the Women* is supported by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.