Frauen und Film 5, Cover Image

on 15.2.75, the berlin police confiscated film and photographic material of filmmakers skip norman (left) and helke sander (right). the two had filmed a demonstration of “aktion 218” [protests against § 218 which prohibited abortions] in front of the gedächtniskirche in berlin (top right): demonstrators had poured washable red paint on the steps of the church—the red paint as a symbol for the blood that flows during illegal abortions. among other things, the fist in the venus mirror (lower left) had also been painted on the pavement with red paint. while initially the confiscated material was supposed to be used for “preservation of evidence,” against which an objection was raised with reference to the right of journalists to refuse to testify, the public prosecutor’s office has meanwhile made the two filmmakers into defendants, so that the right to refuse to testify need not be applied to them. the accusation is based on the following points:

the filmmakers would have known about the action, although the flyers that had been distributed did not indicate any specific time.

on the flyer, on the pavement in front of the memorial church as well as on the back of the magazine frauen und film an illustration of the fist in the venus mirror was shown.

alexandra kollontai (center)—the first women’s rights activist and people’s commissary for education after the russian revolution, deceased 1952 in moscow—haunts the files of the berlin public prosecutor’s office as an accused and wanted person, since her name was under the flyer published by “aktion 218” as the person legally responsible.

a documentation about this incident will be published at the end of may, in which the right of journalists and filmmakers to refuse to testify and the attempted dismantling of civil rights will be discussed in detail. the material can be ordered from frauen und film against advance payment of dm 3,– + 0,50 dm postage to the post office account berlin west, h. lahtela, special account film no. 47101-108.

the collage on the journal’s cover is by brigitte tast (hildesheim).

Editorial from Frauen und Film, Issue 5, 1975. Translated by Volker Pantenburg.

Image: Frauen und Film 5, 1974 © Brigitte Tast

[Suggested citation: “Frauen und Film 5, Cover Image” Rosa Mercedes 03/Documents (2021),]

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April 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Docs

Lauren Berlant, the brilliant theorist of “cruel optimism” and related issues, died of a rare form of cancer on June 28. The following, devastatingly optimistic quote is from a 2016 essay on the commons as “infrastructures for troubling times,” part of a book that they worked on with the typically double-edged title On the Inconvenience of Other People: “What remains for our pedagogy of unlearning is to build affective infrastructures that admit the work of desire as the work of an aspirational ambivalence. What remains is the potential we have to common infrastructures that absorb the blows of our aggressive need for the world to accommodate us and our resistance to adaptation and that, at the same time, hold out the prospect of a world worth attaching to that’s something other than an old hope’s bitter echo. A failed episode is not evidence that the project was in error. By definition, the common forms of life are always going through a phase, as infrastructures will.”


Some basics from the Strike MoMA site: “Campaigns, actions, and letters chip away at the regime’s facade from the outside. Inside, every time workers organize, defy the boss, care for a coworker, disrespect secrecy, or enact other forms of subversion, cracks are created in the core. Cracking and chipping, chipping and cracking. As the walls that artificially separate the museum from the world collapse, we reorient away from the institution and come together to make plans. Let us strike in all the ways possible to exit from the terms of the museum so we can set our own.”


via Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”


Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”


Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020
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