Discussion and reading group with Ewa Majewska

2020 11 02 — 2020 11 03
Author Echo Gone Wrong
Published in Events in Lithuania

Paths to Autonomy #3. Discussion with Ewa Majewska

On 2nd to 3rd November a third cycle of the ‘Paths to Autonomy’ night school will take place, titled ‘Weak resistance or the protest of the tired housewife’ with a feminist philosopher and activist Ewa Majewska.


2 November, 7 pm (UTC+2): Reading of Ewa Majewska’s article “Feminist Art of Failure, Ewa Partum and the Avant-garde of the Weak”. The session will take place online and in English. Please register at paths.to.autonomy@gmail.com

3 November, 7 pm (UTC+2): Public discussion with Ewa Majewska ‘Weak resistance or the protest of the tired housewife’. The discussion will be live streamed and accessible without registration on Kaunas Artists’ House Facebook page, and held in English.

In East Europe we live in accelerated times. Since 1989, the velvet revolution swept the hegemony of the state, opening ways for corporate and private capital to dominate individuals and groups, while at the same time dismantling whatever was left of the social. Margaret Thatcher only said that “there is no such thing as society”. The combined forces of institutional politics and capital of the last three decades do everything to make this proverbial statement into reality. Therefore when we read various versions of “Accelerationist Manifestos”, we smile. How could we move faster than we already do? We had to catch up with the West, with Europe, with the world, global warming, the South, the North, colonialism, feminism, international academia, corporate work regimes, consumerism, internet, creative capital, cultural industries… we had to jump in all this and nobody cared to teach us to swim in the late capitalist, neoliberal waters –– many of us have drowned. This makes us all weak, but also survivors. Aha, the Second World, or the East, almost literally disappeared from the geopolitical maps. Nobody understands where we come from anymore.

This means that our understanding of political agency and resistance differs from those established in the North, West and South. We should begin by saying “we are not over yet” as, by the way, begins the Polish and Ukrainian national anthems; songs that pretend to define all of us, not just nationalists, thus we can also reference them, even if only in order to reject nationalism. Weak resistance is for those who persist, survive, who struggle. Of those denied identity or who reject it or both. Of those directly involved in forming political strategies, while at the same time doing the ordinary, common things; of those, who share, and thus work around the public/private distinction. For an intro to weak resistance, see: https://krisis.eu/weak-resistance/

Ewa Majewska is a feminist philosopher and activist, living in Warsaw. She lectures at the Art Academy in Szczecin, she taught at the University of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, she was also a visiting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley; ICI Berlin and IWM in Vienna. She published four books and some 50 articles and essays, in journals, magazines and collected volumes, including: e-flux, Third Text, Journal of Utopian Studies or Jacobin. Her current research is in Hegel’s philosophy, focusing on the dialectics and the weak; feminist critical theory and antifascist cultures. Her next book, Feminist Antifascism. Counterpublics of the Common, will be published in 2021.

Reading Group: Ewa Majewska, “Feminist Art of Failure, Ewa Partum and the Avant-garde of the Weak”

How to deconstruct a hegemony without succumbing to the hegemon’s rulebook? In her article, Majewska looks at the works of Ewa Partum, one of the first Polish feminist artists (active since the 1960s), through the lens of weak resistance: weak universalism, weak messianism, weak thought, power of the weak, weapons of the weak, and, of course, the (queer) commoner’s art of failure. Rejecting the “false distinction” between melancholic feminist art and resistant art (and between melancholy and resistance?), Majewska shines a light on some ways to resist patriarchal neoliberalism “without the heavy burden of dramatic staging, heroic gestures and messianic hopes”.

Moderated by Tomas Marcinkevičius.

The text for reading can be found here: http://luna6.lt/paths-to-autonomy/en.html

Paths to Autonomy is an online night school made up of discussions, talks and readings exploring Eastern and Western histories and practices of cultural autonomism. Five sessions, from October to December. Project is organised by project space Kabinetas and political hub Luna6. Communications partner Kaunas Artists’ House. Event design by Studio Cryo instagram.com/studiocryo/. Project is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture.