PIRATE WOMEN

2019

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)
Heroine of France for her role during the Hundred Years' War.

We can't save the world by playing by the rules!
Greta Thunberg, 2018, from the speech to UN secretary general António Guterres. Swedish teenage environmental activist on climate change.


The figure of the pirat took popcultural dimensions within literature and the filmindustry and is clearly male-shaped. The pirate represents

adventure, freedom, heroism, strength, disobedience, self-determination, leadership, but also brutality, fight, ugliness, brutalisation. These characteristics are clearly distinguished from a female role model. Despite of all dominant clichés there have always existed female pirates. And also presence knows numberless women who leave traditional attributions of gender roles.

The series PIRATE WOMEN analyses these very pirate characteristics and relates them with women from the past and the presence. To do so, Elisa Andessner collected quotes of significant female figures from 15th (Joan of Arc) to 19th century (Hariet Tubman) to 2018 (Greta Thunberg) and 2019 (Salah Alaah, Sudan), which call for disobedience, fight, determination, bravery, autonomy. All These personalities have one thing in common: by leaving a well-established image of a women they contributed to sustainable societal and cultural changes. By inscripting her face, she visualises the collected quotes and the names of female pirates on her face and torso and keeps them in form of a self portrait by self timer photography. By doing so, she makes use of the language of protest, of belonging and appreciation as well as war paint, which exists in nearly all cultures of the world.


Die Figur des Piraten hat in Literatur und Filmindustrie popkulturelle Dimensionen angenommen und ist ganz klar männlich geprägt. Der Pirat verkörpert Abenteuer, Freiheit, Heldentum, Stärke, Ungehorsam, Selbstbestimmtheit, Führung, aber auch Brutalität, Kampf, Hässlichkeit, Verrohung. Diese Eigenschaften stehen in deutlicher Abgrenzung zum weiblichen Rollenbild. Den dominanten Klischees zum Trotz hat es in der Geschichte dennoch stets weibliche Piratinnen gegeben. Und auch die Gegenwart kennt zahllose Frauen, die traditionelle Zuschreibungen von Geschlechterverhalten verlassen. Die Serie PIRATE WOMEN untersucht eben genau diese Piraten-Eigenschaften und stellt diese in Zusammenhang mit Frauen aus der Geschichte und der Gegenwart. Dafür hat Elisa Andessner Zitate von bedeutenden Frauenfiguren gesammelt - vom 15. (Johanna von Orleans) über das 19. Jahrhundert (Harriet Tubman ) bis zu 2018 (Greta Thunberg) und 2019 (Salah Alaah, Sudan), die zu Ungehorsam, Kampf, Entschlossenheit, Mut, Freiheit, Selbstbestimmung aufrufen. All diese Persönlichkeiten haben eines gemeinsam: Durch ihr Verlassen des gängigen Frauenbildes trugen sie zu nachhaltigen gesellschaftlichen und kulturellen Veränderungen bei. Mittels Gesichtsbeschriftungen macht sie die Zitate sowie die Namen der Piratinnen auf Gesicht und Oberkörper sichtbar und hält diese in Form von Portraits durch Selbstauslöserfotografie fest. Auf diese Weise bedient sich Andessner der Sprache des Protests, der Zugehörigkeit und Wertschätzung sowie der in fast allen Kulturen existierenden Kriegsbemalungen.

 

Never wound a snake, kill it.
Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913)
American political and antislavery activist.

We are not afraid of anything anymore, because we have seen

everything.
Alaa Salah, 2019, sudanese anti-government activist and iconic figure of the protests against Omar al-Bashir.

I got letters and telephone messages from men which have annoyed me very much and I take this occasion to ask them publicly to please not annoy me. I, Mme St. Clair, am not looking for a husband or a sweetheart. If they do not stop annoying me, I shall publish their names and letters in the newspaper.

Stephanie St. Clair (1886–1969), ad in the Harlem newspaper, early

1930ies, american prohibition-era gangster and cicvil rights

activist in Harlem.

They had what it takes to be leaders and they could have poked us up to declare war on the whole world.
Testimony of a fellow prisoner at the trial against Anne Bonny (irish) and Mary Read (british), accused of piracy, 16th november 1720.

Knowing what must be done does away with fear.

Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005), american civil rights activist, known for her deciding role in the Montgomery bus boycott (1955-1956).

You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact you have to be there all the time and see that they do not snow you under, if you are really going to get your reform realised.
Emmeline Pankhurst, 1913, from the speech „Freedom or Death“. British political activist and organizer of the British suffragette movement, which fought for women's right to vote.