The popcultural figure of the pirat is clearly male-shaped. It represents adventure, freedom, heroism, strength, disobedience, self-determination, leadership, but also brutality, fight, ugliness, brutalisation. The typical characteristics of the figure of a pirate is still closely related to a common male role model and moreover even describes the opposite of a female role model. Despite of all stereotyped images, in history female pirates existed very well. And until now, there are numberless women, who leave the classical image of a women.

The series „pirates“ tries to connect these very pirate characteristics with women. To do so, Elisa Andessner collected quotes of significant female figures from 15th century (Joan of Arc) to 2019 (Salah Alaah, Sudan), which call for disobedience, fight, determination, bravery, autonomy,... These historical women have something in common: by leaving a well-established image of a women they contributed to sustainable, societal changes. Besides, Andessner formed a 50-part collection of names of female pirates, who were active from 600 B.C. to the year 2000. Becoming a female pirate was often rooted in the desicion of escaping marriage and a restrictive, classical image of a women. All these names she transfered to her skin in order to symbolically incorporate these pirate characteristics of female pirates.

Elisa Andessner processes the mentioned topics by means of photography, language and writing. By inscripting her face, she visualises the collected quotes as well as the names of female pirates and keeps them on a photo in form of a self portrait by self timer photography. By painting her face and her body, Andessner makes use of the language of protest (political claims, for example at demonstrations), of belonging and appreciation (autochtonous peoples, football) as well as war paint (existed 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.

Collection of names of women, who were active as pirates between 600 B.C. and the year 2000.

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).

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.

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.

All collected quotes.