In her 1983 essay, A Cyborg Manifesto, feminist author Donna Haraway disputes traditional notions of womanhood and identity, using cyborgs as a metaphor to challenge feminists into rebelling against boundaries set forth by political, societal and ideological standards. She says, “At the center of my ironic faith, my blasphemy is the image of a cyborg.”
Inspired by Haraway’s essay, “feminist science-fiction and Afro-futurists of the 1970s,” sisters Kelsey and Remy Bennett have curated LIFEFORCE, a group show including work from 24 female artists, focused on “the all encompassing power of ‘the female’ on both physical and metaphysical levels – transcending constructs of race and gender, reclaiming representation and exploring intersections with science and technology.” Featuring “performance, sculpture, painting, comics, and photography that aim to re-code normative expectations celebrating the LIFEFORCE that is beyond human matter and closer to it’s essence,” the exhibition will run from July 27 to August 6 at The Untitled Space in Manhattan, with an opening reception tonight.
“The concept of a society freed from male dominance seems so far fetched that it could only be found in sci-fi settings,” says Kelsey, who also has photographs in the show. “But then you turn to nature and discover that an avocado changes from female to male overnight, and that there are matriarchal herds of elephants, and then the idea of gender equality, fluidity, or female dominance within a society does not seem so impossible. LIFEFORCE is an experience that explores nature straddled by science at the intersection of technology. It tears through the boundaries of human classification to peer into the possibility of a freer future, something that we can only achieve in reality by embracing the disorientation that comes with the unfamiliar.”
‘Untitled,’ Nadia Lee Cohen
Through various mediums, the exhibiting artists in the show have used the female body and femininity as a way to subvert the dominance often inflicted on women in a patriarchal society.
“LIFEFORCE is an essence, the power under the skin, the driving force in nature,” says Remy. “The artist’s work here is an anarchic dreaming of the future and an emancipation. By creating speculative dimensions and otherworldly identities, we are transcending constructs and reclaiming the representation of the female form. The work explores women’s intersection with science and the development of technology in a society whose structures have been shaped and governed by the dominant patriarchy for too long. […] Our artists are reclaiming those forces of power in nature and science, in a society so often dominated by a culture of fear.”
Presented by Indira Cesarine, LIFEFORCE will be on view at The Untitled Space in TriBeCa until August 6, featuring work by Amanda Turner Pohan, Aria Mcmanus, Chiara Girimonti, Elizabeth Ilsley, Fahren Feingold, Hein Koh, Jeanette Hayes, Jessica Stoller, Jo Shane, Juno Calypso, Kelsey Bennett, Maggie Dunlap, Maisie Cousins, Monica Garza, Nadia Lee Cohen, Nicole Nadeau, Panteha Abareshi, Parker Day, Raine Trainor, Remy Bennett, Sam Cannon, Signe Pierce, Tafv Sampson and Taira Rice.