Relationality in Feminist Collective Practice

Reckitt, Helena and Martinis Roe, Alex. 2021. Relationality in Feminist Collective Practice. On Curating(52), ISSN 2673-2955 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This conversation explores the feminist art practice of Australian, Berlin-based artist Alex Martinis Roe. Martinis Roe starts by stating her criticism of the solo artists model. Instead, she explains how she has developed a feminist approach to art making that presents and creates a relational model of subjectivity, where subjects come into being through relationships with others. In her art she explores her own feminist formation and the ideas that have shaped her politics. She embraces a relational model of authorship and selfhood, which is appropriate to those feminist ideas, and which contributes to the futures they hope to bring about. She uses the term “network” to describe relationships among “influences,” “artist,” and “audience,” positions that are usually considered separately, as the grounds for a social dialogic space amongst all those who take part.

Martinis Roe explains how making visible the genealogies of these relationships and collaborations builds momentum, collecting the transformative force of more actions. Knowledge of what has gone before enables us to inherit the futures they laid the foundations for, which in turn fosters transgenerational solidarity and greater social change, Martinis Roe asserts.

Martinis Roe's engagement with Milan Women’s Bookshop is foundational to her transgenerational, "networked" approach. She discusses some of the collective's practices, including Starting from One’s Self, Practice of Relations, and Affidamento (entrustment).

The conversation reflections on the collective processes feeding into Martinis Roe’s 2018 film ‘Our Future Network,’ for which Reckitt devised and shared the proposition ‘Productive Refusals.” One of more than twenty feminists propositions developed for the film, the exercise was shaped through process of mutual entrustment and group work designed to catalyse collective politics.

Other areas of feminist theory and practice discussed include the value of working through personal experience and difference in constituting and shaping political practice; eroticism in feminist group work; friction, agency and the need for unstructured time in group situations; safer spaces; practices of alliance; commitment; the limits of friendship within Australia’s colonial context; the situated, dialogic and collective nature of theoretical ideas; feminist new materialism; intimate spaces for group work and gathering; public speech; the role of curatorial and institutional support and collaboration; storytelling and virtuality; and the feminist ethos of filming and editing developed in the making of ‘Our Future Network.’

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Additional Information:

'Relationality in Feminist Collective Practice' is based on a public talk that took place during Martinis Roe’s exhibition 'To Become Two' at The Showroom in London, on 18 May 2017. Following the invitation to revisit their talk in the context of OnCurating’s special issue on Instituting Feminism, Martinis Roe and Reckitt offered some further reflections on and clarifications to the original dialogue.


Italian feminism Milan Women’s Bookshop Collective Alliance Feminist new materialism Public speech Feminist Group Work Feminist Gaze

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1 November 2021Published
1 May 2021Accepted

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Date Deposited:

04 Apr 2023 11:52

Last Modified:

04 Apr 2023 11:52


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