Action Archive revisits the 1989 Tensta housing conference (2015)

Sound and image installation view Aktion Arkiv, Gallery, Toni-Areal, ZHdK Zurich University of the Arts, Zurich, 2015.


The group exhibition “Suzanne Lacy’s International Dinner Party in feminist curatorial thought” at Gallery Toni-Areal, ZHdK Zürich University of the Arts (2015)

«The International Dinner Party» was a simultaneous worldwide dinner happening created by Lacy and Pruess to publicize networks of feminist and women’s development organizations around the globe on the eve of Judy Chicago’s «The Dinner Party» exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.The project with its over 2000 participants from all parts of the world, demonstrated the extent of feminist organizing in a pre-Internet era.

Taken together, the International Dinner Party’s messages constitute an instant archive of feminist practice and thought. The «Suzanne Lacy’s International Dinner Party in feminist curatorial thought» exhibition joins Lacy’s 1979 art project with four contemporary collectives: ‹Aktion Arkiv›, ‹Queering Yerevan›, ‹radical practices of collective care› and ‹Red Min(e)d›. These collectives use different artistic and curatorial methods to combine activism, feminism, friendship, transnational collaboration, and critically involved spatial practices. In different ways, these collectives produce emergent feminist and queer feminist archives.

In Zurich Aktion Arkivs presented a re-worked interpreation of parts of their earlier work presented at Tensta Konsthall 2013/2014. Aktion Arkiv was invited by curator Maria Lind to contribute to the exhibition Tensta Museum: Reports from New Sweden on show at Tensta konsthall from October 2013 through May 2014. Tensta konsthall is located in a suburb of Stockholm that was built with the Swedish Million Program, an ambitious social housing program between 1965 and 1974. Today, many of the suburbs are identified negatively with the large late modernist housing ensembles and their mostly immigrant populations. Today, between 85-90% of the 19.000 residents of Tensta have immigrant background.

Helena Mattson, Meike Schalk and Sara Brolund de Carvalho identified the year 1989 as a turning point, both globally and locally in Tensta. They connected the end of the cold war, the beginning neoliberalisation in Sweden, and the shift from labour migration to a global refugee migration with a 1989 international housing conference that had taken place in Tensta. Protagonists of the 1989 international housing renewal conference were invited to a witness seminar at the Tensta konsthall. It resulted in an intense dialogue and heated debates between the foreign guests and the public.

Their work in the exhibition consisted of a recorded reading made of the transcript of the seminar accompanied by a screen showing black and white photos of the 1989 Tensta housing conference.

Curated by Elke Krasny

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