Footnotes on Equality
Collective exhibition by GRACE – Gender and Cultures of Equality in Europe, with Cookies
GRACE researchers (Alejandra Benítez Silva, Tegiye Birey, Orianna Calderòn, Zerrin Cengiz, Eleanor Drage, Athena M. Enderstein, Barbara Grabher, Lieke Hettinga, Johanna Levy, Wilmarie Rosado Pérez, Raluca Pinzari, Paola Prieto López, Zuzanna Szutenberg, Tommaso Trillò, Sara Verderi) and Cookies (Antonio Barone, Alice Grégoire, Federico Martelli and Clément Périssé)
Friday, 8 March - Sunday, 12 May 2019
Tuesday - Sunday, 12:00 - 18:00 hrs
Footnotes on Equality is an exhibition by fifteen researchers of GRACE – Gender and Cultures of Equality in Europe, in collaboration with Rotterdam-based architecture and design collective Cookies. The exhibition centers around a multi-year project to build an eclectic collection of art and everyday objects that serve as indexes for various contentious points around the cultural production of (in)equality. The exhibition plays out at Casco Art Institute with Cookies, and on the website footnotesonequality.eu developed by Anja Groten and Joana Chicau in collaboration with the GRACE researchers.
The researchers of GRACE have been studying and working across Europe, conducting their respective fieldwork and encountering instances where the notion of equality is an ongoing struggle sustained by social movements and in dialogue with efforts in governmental policy and legislation. They’ve collected objects out of these situations as cultural props to tell stories around instances when (in)equality is experienced – be it apparent or subtle, personal or structural, affective or rational. “Embodied discomfort” was used as a methodology in constructing the collection so that the researchers could reflect on their own struggles against racism, sexism, and fascism. They take a critical stance towards how one’s struggle, right, or identity is co-opted and commodified – taken into a sort of “exclusive ownership” – in contemporary capitalist culture. Such structural processes may lead the individual to be critical of equality, or even become ammunition for further injustice.
GRACE researchers and Cookies reflect on the state of naturalized notions of equality in Europe with new visual and sculptural presentations. The installation shares sensibilities that the researchers deem “footnotes” to mainstream understandings of equality. Cookies has emphasized the object collection made by the GRACE researchers as evidence, additional support, critique, alternative perspectives, and anecdotes, so that Footnotes on Equality shows how struggles are ongoing and are incomplete. The focus is on exploring innovative anthropological methods of “making” using the exhibition as a supplement to the academic paper as an ethnographic “scenography” to construct, analyze, and critique the concept of “equality.”
The collaborative relationship between GRACE researchers, Cookies, and Casco Art Institute expands the visual language of the project. As a result, the exhibition offers artifactual analysis as a way to both engage and disseminate, as well as produce “new” sites and events of and about cultures of equality. Cookies is interested in the wider implications of the GRACE researcher’s work, revealing the objects in the exhibition as anecdotes of (in)equality – against the more bureaucratic, institutional definition of equality where singularities and struggles in solidarity are typically lost. For this exhibition, Cookies has developed a system of hanging textile elements – articulating the space into opaque and semi-transparent layers, corridors, and cul-de-sacs. The collection includes an array of material from participants’ observations and field research in the European Union, including notes, audio and visual recordings, transcriptions, artworks, and readymade objects. The researchers share their investigations on broad themes within their work where the concept of individual and structural equality is challenged: in sports’ gender inclusivity; in feminism across religion and secularism; in anniversary celebrations for LGTBQ rights and their material traces; in migrant, feminist and anti-racist solidarity networks; in menstrual and big data flows; in the war and memory of the Syrian uprising; in sexual violence and domestic abuse; and in the politics of visibility for transgender and disability embodiment.
GRACE – (Gender and Cultures of Equality in Europe) is an “Innovative Training Network” within the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Programme. The GRACE project inquires into the ways cultures of equality are made and remade within and at the borders of Europe. In the largest cross-European collaboration of its kind – involving fifteen early-stage researchers and a wider group of 100 scholars based in over ten countries – they have for the past three years systematically investigated what “equality” means in the European context today. Footnotes on Equality at Casco Art Institute is both a dissemination sub-project within GRACE and a realization of one of the methodological approaches of the GRACE project: curation as method. The exhibition also has an online presence at footnotesonequality.eu.
Formed by Antonio Barone, Alice Grégoire, Federico Martelli and Clément Périssé in 2015, Cookies works as a platform and catalyzer for art and architecture. Using exhibition-making as a medium, Cookies explores the relation between art, research, display, curation, and architecture.