CURATED BY CRISTINA DE MIDDEL
It's not cool to be a feminist. None of the Spring-Summer 2016 collections include it in the tendencies to follow. And it's especially not cool if you're a woman, so I will not confess here that I am one. After all, I should be speaking about gender, the theme for SAN JOSE FOTO 2016.
At least the vast majority of persons with whom I meet physically or virtually every day and I were lucky to have been born and raised in a time of change that allows us to compare mentalities and opinions that belong to different centuries. My grandmother, who is almost a hundred, puts her hands to head head every day while my nephews, almost ten, move naturally among boys that are girls, girls who are boys, pink for him, blue for her and plucked eyebrows for everyone. Without blinking. Some may feel dizzy when seeing the progress on gender issues that has taken place in most of the developed countries, and yet my feeling is that there's much that needs to be done, understood and definitely much to change. Although we find medical breakthroughs in gender and identity matters that let us decide sex before birth or modify it afterwards, institutional developments that seek to respond to new realities, the truth is that which has been done has been done stumbling. What good is it to blend genres when such inequality still exists between them? Is it that this trend towards androgyny is a desperate strategy to implement a system of average to compensate an equation that is too difficult to solve?
I know I started by saying that my intention was far from making a feminist discourse, because as I had already said it is not fashionable, but in order to explain my curatorial proposal for SAN JOSE PHOTO 2016 I need to put things in context.
The context is that I am a woman and I am in a position of power because I am the curator. I have been given the power to decide which photographic visions best explain my understanding of gender issues. And from that position of power that one almost never holds, I decided to give the microphone to men, convinced that if there's any progress in this it has to come from them. I'll spare you the statistics about the percentage of women in positions of power in the different fields of finance, politics or culture, because I know that it won't matter. Statistics alone do not produce any change, but I do need to refer to them (and we all can infer that) in order to explain why my curatorial work includes only men photographers.
For the same reason I resist adopting a feminist discourse (unsuccessfully at this point, I must confess), I have decided to do without the look of women. Aware as I am that change, which slowly but surely is occurring is almost always marked by a change in the mentality of men; it seems to make sense to focus on those projects which offer, in my opinion, a rather optimistic or at least a scenario that does not accentuate the problem.
The woman is often photographed topless woman photographer and usually the woman photographer is tucked away. This female / photograph relation goes from the form a violin drawn in the back, to the walls of a garage, and through many of the advertisements ads (regardless of the product advertised), and still this path goes through the mysterious case of an archive belonging to a household employee, who to everyone's surprise, was an excellent photographer (or an excellent photographer who had to work as a housekeeper, depending how you look at it).
The selection of authors I suggest is nothing more than a game to understand better who is the woman photographer and how is a woman being photographed, a game for men that leaves out of the conversation, but that summarizes hours of listening, understanding and reflecting. Just what's missing in order to change things.
Superstition, fashion, tradition, stereotypes and language, are all areas in which women always carries an asterisk. Witch woman, burned at the stake, imprisoned (Eric Gyamsi), woman consumer and slave to shapes and colors (Bruno Morais), wife and canon of beauty, muse (Pachi Santiago), original woman, powerful (Patrick Willocq), woman father, hardworking (Nicolas Wormull) and the absence of gender by the anullation of forces, the project of an androgynous man (William Giansanti) getting into the skin of a woman, by comission, in order to talk about intimacy.
All them, women of our time, and fortunately, all of them men of our time too.