Magazine article Women & Environments International Magazine

Artist Profile; Globalization, Gender and Border Geography

Magazine article Women & Environments International Magazine

Artist Profile; Globalization, Gender and Border Geography

Article excerpt

Ursala Biemann is a swiss video artist, feminist and social commentator who explores frontiers and pushes boundaries. She is testing the borders -- all of them, in all their facets-physical and virtual, literal and conceptual. She is creating new visual language and draws a cartography of the migrating gendered body in the flow of global capitalism.

"The questions I have to ask myself as artist and videomaker are: How can I dislocate and recontextualize a much belaboured question such as the marketability of women and the objectivation of female sexuality? How can a video, rather than simply arguing against capitalism and affirming rigid gender identities, reflect and produce the expansion of the very space in which we write and speak of the feminine?"

While these quests are ongoing, she has shown her ability to reach the mark. Writing Desire (2000), is a video essay where you, the audience become the dislocated voyeur to oddly innocent cyberspace mail order brides. The order list is generated from militarized and unstable regions such as Russia, the Phillipines, or any desperation zone you, the viewer, care to locate, through the dream screen of the Internet. The experience leaves a chill as you realize the efficiency of technology's ability to enhance the global circulation of women's bodies from the third world to the first world. When I first stepped out of the screening of her video "Writing Desire", I felt like Amelia Erhardt completing her first transatlantic flight. I felt a sort of dyslexic alienation, as both observer and subject, voyeur and object of desire, I was never quite sure where to draw the line. I was relieved that I had made it alive, but left already panting for more. Biemann's capsule had hurled me across space and time, her visual tempo and odd juxtapositions of sound and image references mesmerized me. I was exhausted by the adventure, both elated and despairing. …

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