Before or After
installations with series of collages
One particular word is central to the collages Before or After. It is the conjunction "or". This word is used to link alternatives: it is a grammatical shortcut indicating that one or more of the cases it connects may occur. However, the politics of this word is highly intricate. It is an accuracy-destroying symbol and it might suggest an inclusive or exclusive attitude. This "Janus-faced" linguistic device implies a grey area of language, it opens the field of indeterminacy. It can lead to confusion, ambiguity, cognitive dissonance, statements resulting in a nullity, unclassifiable demands, or affirmations which are neither for nor against.
Slogans from feminist protests are replaced with new ones which seem to undermine the determination of the dissent they document. "Left or right", "magic or logic", "yesterday or tomorrow", "cool or hot", "kiss or kick" etc. are contradictions that take any programmatic logic away from the protest. Usually a slogan encompasses the frustrations and demands of a cause distilled to a handful of words and is designed to build a following and to create energy. Poetic wordplay in a slogan is often central, with repetition, rhyme, and parallelism all having roles. The claims of the new slogans flirt with the rhetorical nature of protests' taglines, with their likeability, brevity, striking formulations, clear and concise content. However, they introduce a radical split, a disjunction between meaning, message, logic, truth, so that the rallying cries become a kind of brooding on textual mysteries that oppose all forms of doctrinal adherence. The original slogans are overwritten by unsuspected antinomies, by unstable binary oppositions that tend to undermine the classical economy of truth. They become elements of textual resistance carrying an invisible political agenda and an inverted metaphysical thinking. They turn into autonomous verbal icons with mystifying drive, ignoring the ontological differences between language and reality. Thus, the syntax of the new slogans indicates the yearning for absoluteness, the determination to take everything and to demand the impossible.