Corneous Stories | 26th International Festival City of Women

Our fellow classmates Johanna Michel and collaborator Jinran Ha as well as Kim Bode (all part of the N*A*I*L*S - hacks*facts*fictions* collective) are gladly inviting you to the CORNEOUS STORIES exhibition at Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana.

8. 10. 2020 - 30. 10. 2020

Opening of the exhibition on Thursday 8 October at 7 pm!

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8. 10., 7 pm–11 pm: Exhibition opening with exhibition viewing and performance

9. 10., 6 pm–9 pm: Diskurzivni salon

10. 10., 5 pm–7 pm: Presentation of the Corneous Stories student research project and publication



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What do we realize when we look at society and history through cosmetics and beauty work?

The Corneous Stories project includes an exhibition, discursive program, art education and a publication. It offers a platform for presentations and encounters within the transdisciplinary research of historical and societal perspectives on the material culture of cosmetics. Developed by differently organized individuals and groups – artists, researchers, art educators and students –, Corneous Stories look at history through the skin, nails and hair.


Perceived as a wide concept in Corneous Stories, cosmetics and beauty labour are seen as an everyday social practice. Despite their centrality within the visual culture and aesthetic-formal codings of individual eras and societies and their material circuits and connections, both cosmetics and beauty labour are rarely a subject of (artistic) research or (re)production. Revealing surprising links between different sectors of the economy (chemical, car and film industry), work regimes (service, but also forced- and migrant labour, as well as beauty labour), mobility, modernity and identity violence and how they intersect in the material culture of cosmetics and visual culture, Corneous Stories want to trigger reconsiderations of the ways of contemporary subjectivation and governance.


The Corneous Stories project strives for a mutually supportive transfer of different knowledge, experience, feelings, and practices that are not divided into more and less important ones. Situated knowledge such as social “readings” of appearances and recognising mechanisms of social divisions based on appearances is knowledge, too. To have the ability to reflect upon a personal and a experience of marginalization and suppression of others means to act against it.

No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption.*

*Freire, P. (2005 [1970]). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, p. 54.

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The Corneous Stories project includes an exhibition, discursive programme, art education and a publication. It offers a platform for presentations and encounters within the transdisciplinary research of historical and societal perspectives on the material culture of cosmetics. Developed by differently organized individuals and groups – artists, researchers, art educators and students –, Corneous Stories look at history through the skin, nails and hair, asking “What do we see if we look at history and society through cosmetics and the labour of beauty?” 

Revealing surprising links between different sectors of the economy (chemical, car and film industry), work regimes (service, but also forced- and migrant labour, as well as beauty labour), mobility, modernity and identity violence and how they intersect in the material culture of cosmetics and visual culture, Corneous Stories want to trigger reconsiderations of the ways of contemporary subjectivation and governance. 


Exhibiting: Dovilė Aleksaitė, Milijana Babić, Mareike Bernien and Kerstin Schroedinger, Kim Bode, Centre for Women’s Studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, Lea Culetto, Lenka Đorojević, Anna Ehrenstein, Jinran Ha, Johanna Käthe Michel, Selma Selman


Curated by Katja Kobolt.

© 2020 Class Bonvcini