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 „pirates“ analyses these very pirate characteristics and tries to relate them with women. 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.
Moreover, Andessner formed a 50-part collection of female pirates, who were active from 600 B.C. to the year 2000. Nearly all of them justified their decision to become a pirate with wanting to escape a restrictive image of a women and marriage.
Elisa Andessner processes the mentioned topics by means of photography, language and writing. 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.
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.
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
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.