Breaking Down the Fourth Wall: A Field Guide to Feminist Art in Olympia


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The third of four sections in a field guide guide to feminist art in Olympia Washington, which explores the town's current community of feminist art and creative practice vis a vis its Riot Grrrl history. This field guide was the final project for a class titled Art and Society (Fall 2010), a core course for my Master's program in Arts Management at the University of Oregon.

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Breaking Down the Fourth Wall: A Field Guide to Feminist Art in Olympia

  1. 1. Olympia, WA Anarchist activism to community organizing, Riot Grrrl feminism to queer politics, early indie music to DIY craft, Evergreen State to the Sex Workers Art Show . . . Olympia is built on opposition. This film shows Olympia as a “terrible city”, or one that hasn’t opened up to a new state of becoming . COMMUNE: A Film about Free Spaces in Olympia , is a DIY documentary-style video presented by The Free Space Project, The Imaginary Party, and the Bureau of Unmediated Experiences. COMMUNE Parts 1-8
  2. 2. Riot GRRRL The Riot Grrrl Manifesto We Are the Grrrls: Women in Music Before, During, and After Riot Grrrl BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways. BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other's work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other. A Brief Visual History of Riot Grrrl Zines Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
  3. 3. Riot GRRRL LIVES ON <ul><li>Ladyfest Ten (2010) </li></ul>Video Interview with Gretchen Wagner, Assistant Curator (MoMA New York) on Riot on the Page: Thirty Years of Zines by Women The very first Ladyfest, a community-based, nonprofit women’s music/art festival, was held in Olympia in 2000. Kathleen Hanna ’ s Blog JIGSAW UNDERGROUND: Tobi Vail ’ s Blog
  4. 4. MUSIC <ul><li>Olympia’s independent music culture is a subject deep and vast enough for its own project(s). Here are a handful of recent or current feminist-oriented musicians, projects, and businesses. </li></ul>Listen to Gossip’s new album, Music for Men . This recent sensation of a band actually formed over 10 years ago and played Ladyfest 2000. Marissa Magic is a punk-noise musician and music writer for such websites as Maximum Rock n Roll , originally a punk zine. Ex-Bikini Kill Tobi Vail interviews her for Vail’s JIGSAW UNDERGROUND . KRS is a queer-positive, feminist, artist-friendly Olympia record label started in 1991. It is now one of the few female-run record labels in the US. And encourages other women to start their own.
  5. 5. Film & Video Bridget Irish , film/video artist, teacher, curator, and blogger Film and Destroy: to present, support and encourage independent and experimental work by, for and about women. Olympia Film Society , a 501(c)(3) since 1980, hosts daily/weekly special screenings at the historic Capitol Theater, as well as the annual Olympia Film Festival (27 years old). Film/video by and about women and other underrepresented artists is well-represented in regular and festival programming, especially compared to film culture in other parts of the US. Integrated Arts The 2010 Olympia Film Festival featured performances by queer feminist punk banks Gossip and The Need.
  6. 6. Performance Art “ New Whore Order” The Sex Workers Art Show is a tour of visual/performance art by women in the sex industry that works to “dispel the myth that they are anything but artists, innovators, and geniuses!” Watch a clip of Erin Markey ’ s performance from SWAS 2008. Wynne Greenwood was Tracy + the Plastics (1999-2005), a queer-feminist multimedia project exploring social politics and theory through art, irony, and humor. Greenwood performed live in front of per-recorded videos of herself as two other characters (members of her “band”). T + P “broke down the fourth wall” to make participatory art and media experiences.
  7. 7. TRASHY Remix (Ruby Re-Usable) Bride and Groom from the White Trash Wedding series. All images © 2007 Diane Kurzyna Bag Lady in the Alley (sculpture) While recycled materials is the common theme of her work, [Ruby] employs a variety of techniques to create installations, sculptures, dolls, baskets, masks, quilts and other wall pieces. Inspired by a variety of sources, [Ruby] feels a kindred spirit with folk artists through the ages.
  8. 8. Blogs & zines Grrrl Zine Network While not specific to Olympia, this digital global archive and resource site for feminist, queer, and trans zines—founded by feminist scholar and Elke Zobl--is inspired by the Riot Grrrl zine culture of the ‘90s. Double Take is a show about and by DIY and Feminist artists, musicians, and social justice workers. We call it a ‘Feminist Video Zine’ because our media content is inspired by zine aesthetics and DIY ethos. - From Double Take website, a project of Evergreen State College Olympia Feminist Blogroll Tobi Vail: JIGSAW UNDERGROUND JIGSAW ’ S Feminist Theory Bridget Irish: Shenanigans and Such Kathleen Hanna
  9. 9. TRANSMEDIA RESOURCES Tracy + the Plastics Video Links (2001-2005)     Olympia Radical Film Collective    Feminist Memory Ladyfest/Grassroots Feminism Network   Girls to the Front: A History of Riot Grrrl ( book tour, public dialogue @ local library