GENDERLESS PROJECT (Amsterdam, 2016/17)

performance Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

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“A project for acceptance and understanding of gender diversity. Going beyond the binary”

We are living in a society that becomes more and more complex. Society is becoming a big global performance directed by social media, day by day, from Facebook “like” to Facebook “like.” We’re steered by algorithms, governed by systems too complicated for one individual to understand, let alone control. The human tendency is to react to that by creating boxes and categories with fences to make it more understandable and comprehensible. So we block out all kind of deviation from the norm and create new borders (real new ones between European countries again) and divisions.

The very first division, when we are born, is between male and female.

It seems almost fundamental for us to hold on to that as one of the last certainties we have to establish ourselves and our identity. For that reason we are extremely harsh on people who challenge that basic polarity, to those who want to change their gender during their life. Can we imagine a world in which we loosen up the gender specificity? What rules would need to be changed? What consequences would it have? What ethical decisions would need to be made?  – Alicia Framis, Amsterdam 2017

Alicia Framis uses this performance and film as a tool to discuss how architecture is selective and instructive, for example in your love life. People are put in boxes and sometimes forced to stay where they don’t fit anymore; since our desires and needs continually change, architecture is obsolete. In reaction, Framis establishes a real-estate company named Century 22 Real Estate, inspired by the well-known international real estate firm Century 21. Until now, most real estate agencies offer housing for a governmental model for families: father, mother, and two children. Brochures with more information about the alternative housing projects are handed out at the end of the performance and function as a conversation starter with the audience.

Prof. Beatriz Colomina is professor of architecture and founding director of the program in media and modernity at Princeton University. This evening, she lectures on the topic “With, or Without You: The Ghosts of Modern Architecture”. According to Prof. Colomina,“With,” and not “and,” is the way in which female architects appear more frequently in the official records of institutions, if they appear at all alongside men in the credits. Women are the ghosts of modern architecture, everywhere present, crucial, but strangely invisible. Unacknowledged, they are destined to haunt the field forever. But correcting the record is not just a question of adding a few names or even thousands to the history of architecture. It is not just a matter of human justice or historical accuracy, but a way to more fully understand architecture and the complex ways it is produced.

 

This project is supported by The Art of Impact and BEAR ArtEZ

Photography by Maarten Nauw