Saturday, April 7, 2012

Selections from Ulrike Müller's Herstory Inventory

Ulrike Müller
 For Herstory Inventory, I have been inviting artists to reimagine historical feminist imagery in drawings based on a found list of image descriptions. While researching at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn I came across an inventory list for their extensive collection of t-shirts. Most likely compiled by a volunteer archivist, this list describes the t-shirts’ images and graphic elements in a meticulous though inconsistent way (using, for example, “inverted triangle,” “upside-down triangle“ and “triangle pointed down“ interchangeably). The resulting text struck me as both a historical record and a piece of found poetry. Abstracting countercultural iconography into a poetically detailed language, the text opens up a productive space for political fantasy and libidinal projection. It also lends itself to generating an exchange between contemporary queer culture and our activist feminist history with its conflicting positions and productive debates. Since 2009, I have been handing out these descriptions to feminists, queer artists and other interested people in New York and elsewhere to translate the verbal descriptions into new images. I see this project as a reflection on collective and individual movements, bodies present and absent, and our current moment.

Peace symbol, heart, and upside down rainbow triangle.
Anni Viinikainen

Many women’s symbols interlocked in a square pattern. 
Nancy Brooks Brody

Mouth with two large teeth that fits into a large diamond shape. Vampire lesbians of Sodom.
Hans Scheirl

Nude woman holding up the scales of justice.
Marget Long

Nude woman with long braids holding a bow (that surrounds her) and arrow (shaped like lightening).
Lee Maida

5 Cats; 4 pink, 1 black.
Xylor Jane

Herstory Inventory Participants
(as of December 2011)
A. K. Burns, A. L. Steiner, Adriana Minoliti, Allyson Mitchell, Amy Linton, Amy Sillman, Anni Viinikainen, Barbara Eichhorn, B. E. Wiest, Carola Dertnig, Carrie Yamaoka, Cauleen Smith, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Chitra Ganesh, Chris Castillo, Cristina Gomez Barrio, Dean Daderko, Elke Krystufek, Faith Wilding, Fiona Rukschcio, Gabriela Santiago, Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Dana Bishop-Root, Gregg Bordowitz, Guadalupe Rosales, Hans Scheirl, Jamie Chan, JD Samson, Johanna and Mona Gustavsson, Johanna Kirsch, Jonah Groeneboer, Julie Evanoff, K8 Hardy, Kate Huh, Katherine Hubbard, Kathleen Hanna, Lee Maida, Lee Relvas, Leidy Churchman, Lili Benson, Linda Bilda, Lisa Ulik, Lovett & Codagnone, Malin Arnell, Marlene McCarty, Marget Long, Marlene McCarty, Maria Gafarova, Mariah Garnett, Marie-Therese Escribano, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Michaela Mélian, Michele Araujo, Michelle Dizon, Moyra Davey, Myriam Lanau, Nancy Brooks Brody, Nicole Eisenman, Onya Hogan-Finlay, Patricia Reschenbach, R. H. Quaytman, Robert Bordo, Robin Hustle, Sam Miller, Samara Davis, Shelly Silver, Simone Bader, Therese Roth, Ulrike Müller, Wolfgang Mayer, Xylor Jane, Zoe Leonard.

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