Productive Refusals

Reckitt, Helena and Martinis Roe, Alex. 2016. 'Productive Refusals'. In: To Become Two. Casco,Office for Art, Design & Theory, Utrecht, Netherlands 20 November 2016 - 2017. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Developed with artist Alex Martinis Roe, Productive Refusals is one of twenty propositions for feminist collective practices which form the subject of Martinis Roe’s 2016 film Our Future Network, 2016, and which premiered as part of Martinis Roe’s 2015 exhibition To Become Two.

The proposition, Productive Refusals, is that saying ‘no’ can be a productive way to change existing habits and systems. It can open up new and unexpected possibilities, and change situations for the better. The proposition was developed as part of the Our Future Network residential workshop in Germany in May 2016. It asked the twenty female workshop participants to think of a time when they had said ‘yes,’ but felt that they should have said ‘no,’ and to think of how they might have said ‘no’ in ways that proved productive. The proposition also invited them to reflect on a time that someone had said ‘no’ to them, and how this in turn opened up the possibilities for change. Possible responses to situations in which saying ‘no’ would be more productive than ‘yes’ were then written up in the form of calling cards, inspired by those of artist Adrian Piper, which Martinis Roe filmed participants reading, direct-to-camera.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Additional Information:

Our Future Network premiered in November 2016 as part of Martinis Roe’s exhibition To Become Two at Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht, The Netherlands. By employing various methods such as participant observation, oral history interviewing, archival research, and collaborative social practices Martinis Roe connects the theories and practices of previous groups to a younger generation of women through reenactments, storytelling, consecutive translations, and the presentation of archival material.

The exhibition project traces the genealogy of “feminist new materialist” and “sexual difference” theories through her engagement with different international feminist communities and their political practices. To Become Two elaborates on a number of historical practices developed by these feminist communities and explores their interconnections across generations and different contexts.

Exhibition, 20 Nov 2016-29 Jan 2017

Our Future Network, 2016, co-commissioned by ar/ge Kunst, Bolzano; Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht; If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Amsterdam; and The Showroom, London, presents twenty propositions for feminist collective practices with an intergenerational group of women, and is derived from the
practices and propositions that arose out of a series of workshops, embodied research, and the five earlier films. The exhibition is also manifested in To Become Two, an artist book published by Archive Books, 2016.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



20 November 2016UNSPECIFIED
1 May 2016Accepted

Event Location:

Casco,Office for Art, Design & Theory, Utrecht, Netherlands

Date range:

20 November 2016 - 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2017 11:15

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:22


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