As an artist, and in my art, I tend to use organic materials, industrial materials, and theoretical concepts,in a theatrical way. I like to see the performance and relationship these materials and concepts have with each other, as well as noting how they (must) come together. In my work, I usually use flowers, seeds, eco paper, wood, and metal. I like to see and understand the ironies and stories that uphold unspoken social constructions.
It has become clear to me that ‘nature’ and ‘women’ are quite analogous concepts rooted in ethnocentric and male-dominated understandings of society. Being both Norwegian and Portuguese – and having lived in both countries and in the UK – I experienced some aspects of the overlapping relationship between sustainability and feminism in many of its varying (international) ways.
I let myself go, I let myself explore, and I let myself see...
I have been exposed to different policies and governmental approaches to sustainability and feminism, and I have seen how it feels to be a woman in different societies and cultures. It is my understanding that approaches to sustainability and feminism are interlinked, in ways that fit the Western overall men-dominated framework of operation. A connection and link I explore through my art, as a self-proclaimed eco-feminist, as I draw on conceptualisations that connect ‘humans’ and ‘the natural’.
I decided to layout 4800 petals on the floor in the main entrance of the exhibition. This way, visitors are ‘forced’ to step on the petals when entering the gallery, which ultimately destroys them. In other words, an interactive installation. I use organic materials as their life-span and decaying process can be used as analogies to that of women’s lives. The same way these petals are transformed and moulded when stepped on, so have women for decades; a philosophical experiment that drives visitors to draw their own conclusions regarding tackling sustainability and women’s rights sufficiently. It is important to note that, like men, women often perpetuate anti-feminist ideologies, even if unaware. Hence why all visitors – regardless of gender – step on the petals I have laid down.
Sketch of the installation, option I, Constanza Marques Guedes