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Check Instead: The Colonial Matrix of Power!


The notion of representation in the history of exhibiting in Western Europe has often been based on sexist and racist stereotypes and is related directly to the coloniality of power. With the changes in Europe and globally in last decades (such as EU integration), new tendencies in the mode of representation appeared. Forces are put together not only to investigate what the creativity of “developing other” is about, but also what the “developing other’s” emancipation is about, or better to say, where the developing other is now on the scale of implementation of neo-liberal values.
In the year 2009, numerous exhibitions were staged, art works produced, symposia organized as Europe was in euphoria of celebrating the anniversary of twenty years of the fall of the Berlin Wall. One of such projects was the “Gender Check” exhibition, investigating gender role models in Eastern European art between 1960s and 1990s initiated by Erste Foundation in MUMOK.
The workshop Check Instead: the Colonial Matrix of Power! took projects like „Gender Check“ (MUMOK) as a point of departure for a critical reflection of the ongoing Western investigation and control of democratic values and social emancipation in countries that recently joined and of those which are about to join the EU (and broader). Exhibiting role models of femininity and masculinity in Eastern Europe is following a strict logic of identity politics as they make it possible to identify, fragmentize, categorize and make the Other visible and therefore controllable. Such practices show the continuity of colonial power in the way how the “Eastern” and “Southern” worlds are perceived and how state legitimized racism and patriarchal models of exclusion are created in Western countries. 


The project Check Instead: the Colonial Matrix of Power! consisted of several workshops in the forefront of the exhibition in the Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs, Vienna (VBKÖ) (7.-19.12.2009). It presented a collective installation as the outcome of the workshops and a panel discussion in the VBKÖ within the 100 YEARS - VBKÖ program (21.01.2010) and a presentation of the project within the Rundgang, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (21-24.01.2010).

The project was initiated by Ana Hoffner and Ivana Marjanović, organized and supported by the VBKÖ and the Conceptual Art Practices Class, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. The project was also part of the Squatting Teachers initiative within the context of the university protests.

The following students took part in the workshop and exhibition: Branko Andrić, Sheri Avraham, Iris Borovčnik, Lina Dokuzović, Christian Gangl, Miltiadis Gerothanasis, Tatiana Kai-Browne, Baris Kiziltoprak, Marissa Lobo, Nataša Mackuljak, Maria Muhar, Marion Oberhofer, Ervin Tahirović, Majda Turkić and Reinhard Uttenthaler.