The future is definitely female in LIFEFORCE, a new exhibition at The Untitled Space. LIFEFORCE opened July 26th 2016 at the gallery’s Tribeca location. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s seminary text, A Cyborg Manifesto, and the Afrofuturists of the 1970s, LIFEFORCE features more than 20 female artists and continues The Untitled Space’s mission of highlighting women in art. The work of the exhibition, which includes performance, sculpture, painting, comics, and photography, explores the feminine in the context of a genderless future by focusing on the all encompassing power of “the female” on both physical and metaphysical levels. In this way it aims to re-code normative experience and to celebrate the LIFEFORCE that is beyond human physicality and matter.
In A Cyborg Manifesto, Haraway writes about “a world without oppression and domination; where sexual, racial, and other so called natural distinctions have lost their meaning.” By presenting work that transcends constructs of race and gender, reclaims representations, and explores the intersection of science and technology, LIFEFORCE will offer gallery visitors a visual manifestation of Haraway’s utopian ideas and a view from the fourth wave perspective of the cyberfeminist movement. Of cyberfeminism, Signe Pierce, LIFEFORCE participant and “reality artist” states: “The word ‘feminism’ can often feel binary but I think that the cyberfeminist movement is interested in eliminating these binaries by advocating a concept of expanding identities beyond the limits of our bodies and/or assigned genitalia to be something more than human.” -Signe Pierce
Through the lens of cyberfeminism, artists in LIFEFORCE use defiance and a sense of humor to materialize a world in which the past’s demonized depictions of females are reclaimed and stereotypical social constructs are satirized. Women in the exhibition, such as 16-year-old illustrator, Panteha Abarasha who creates futuristic comic strips that feature powerful women of color, use fantasy to imagine the social possibilities of a future unaffected by history’s misdeeds and abuse of women and others traditionally relegated to lower social status. Of her work Abarasha proclaims:
“It’s really time that people of color are portrayed in art as the deep, diverse and beautiful characters they truly are."
Other artists in LIFEFORCE use grotesque imagery that is traditionally deemed unappealing to challenge today’s misogyny. Of her work, which is inspired by “all things gross and human, ”acclaimed British photographer, Maisie Cousins offers,
“I make work that is erotic, visceral and always inspired by the fluidity of sexuality and gender…I like to create beautiful satisfying images from disgusting mess.”
Artists in LIFEFORCE include Amanda Turner Pohan, Aria McManus, Chiara Girimonti, Elizabeth Ilsley, Hein Koh, Jeanette Hayes, Jessica Stoller, Jo Shane, Juno Calypso, Kelsey Bennett, Maggie Dunlap, Maisie Cousins, Monica Garza, Nadia Lee Cohen, Nicole Nadeau, Panteha Abareshi, Parker Day, Raine Trainor, Remy Bennett, Sam Cannon, Signe Pierce, Tafv Sampson, and Taira Rice.