The Future Is Genderless: The All-Women Art Show that Blends Feminism and Sci-Fi

With "LIFEFORCE," curators Kelsey and Rémy Bennett exhibit a vision of the future where grotesque femininity combines with science fiction to startling effect.

by Zing Tsjeng
Jul 26 2016, 3:25pm

Photo by Nadia Lee Cohen, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

In 1983, feminist academic Donna Haraway began writing an essay titled "A Cyborg Manifesto." She argued for gender to be revised and reconstituted in the same way that cyborgs blend both man and machine, pointing to the "the utopian dream of the hope for a monstrous world without gender." Over 30 years since its publication, curators Kelsey and Rémy Bennett have heeded Haraway's call with their art show LIFEFORCE, which explores, in their words, "the feminine in the context of a genderless future."

The Bennett sisters have made art together since they were children. Their last collaboration, GLORY HOLE, was an immersive show where visitors were invited to enter the bedroom of a camgirl slash cannibal serial killer and lounge in a 70s living room created by set designer Nick Des Jardin (complete with La-Z-Boy recliner). This time around, the pair have turned their eye to a vision where the future is female–or at least, depending on whatever your idea of femaleness is.

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Drawing from Haraway's radical embrace of technology and the feminist sci-fi and Afrofuturism of the 70s, the exhibition at the Untitled Space in Tribeca, New York, features 24 female artists, including award-winning photographer Juno Calypso, sculptor and ceramicist Jessica Stoller, and multimedia artist Signe Pierce, whose American Reflexxx video went viral in 2015 with over 1.5 million views on YouTube. The show also includes the work of younger and self-taught artists, like 16-year-old illustrator Panteha Abareshi, whose comic strips feature queer women of color as science fiction heroes.

"By creating speculative dimensions and otherworldly identities, we are transcending constructs and reclaiming the representation of the female form," the Bennetts told Broadly. "The work explores women's intersection with science and the development of technology in a society whose structures have been shaped and governed by the dominant patriarchy for too long. By imagining alternate realities, we are allowing for shifts in our everyday reality."

LIFEFORCE is presented by The Untitled Space and Indira Cesarine. It runs from July 27 to August 6 at the Untitled Space in Tribeca, New York. More information here.

"Untitled (Slipper)" by Jessica Stoller, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

"Seaweed Wrap" by Juno Calypso, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

Illustration by Panteha Abareshi, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

Photo by Kelsey Bennett, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

Illustration by Taira Rice, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

Photo by Nadia Lee Cohen, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

Illustration by Chiara Girimonti, courtesy of LIFEFORCe

Photo by Maisie Cousins, courtesy of LIFEFORCE

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Broadly Culture