This Is How We Gave Birth To Estonian Feminism

1995; video, illuminating text and photography installation

This Is How We Gave Birth To Estonian Feminism was produced for the ‘est.fem’ exhibition, one of the first clearly identified feminist art manifestations in Estonia. As one of the co-curators of the exhibition I questioned how and why feminist art and movement is needed in Estonia, what are the roots to our little rebellion.
The work reflects 1990s Estonian society and the transition to new liberal capitalism as well as it is autobiographical in many levels. Firstly, it uses found footage of pornography streamed down through a communal house TV antennae by possibly a tenant, who hacked into a porn satellite channel during a night. This found footage illustrates both the opportunistic and without rules every man for themselves early capitalism of Eastern-Europe and the fact that women’s bodies became overly sexualized object during this period. Over the found pornographic footage a text is read from my childhood soviet pioneer diaries about our activities, written by me at the age of 10-12 in 1977-1981. The text is simple yet it’s a memory of past, which is still present. The video image is mixed with photos of a ceremony celebrating soviet work heroes, where my mother is captured as a ‘flower girl’ – a young woman to smile and hand over the flowers, usually to older men. Further nationalistic footages from daily news are mixed into the video. After each diary entry the screen goes dark and a text, written on wall with illuminating paint becomes visible “This is how we gave birth to Estonian Feminism”.