The audiovisual work Alliances (2018) by Alex Martinis Roe explores the heritage of the women’s liberation movement and not obvious genealogies of the feminist and related social movements which unite and mutually empower anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist groups.
Roe criticises the appropriation of the cultural significance of the 1960s movement by the Parisian University, particularly during the celebration of the 50th anniversary. During the celebration, the artist hosted a workshop at the Centre Pompidou with an intention to make an anti-representational contribution that undermines the predominant form of this commemoration.
She interviewed several activists and invited them to develop proposals for new alliances. In the video, we are presented with the viewpoints of the writer Claire Finch and playwright Karima El Kharazze. Claire Finch, a postgraduate student in Gender Studies at the University of Paris, talks about the French writer Hélène Cixous as the predecessor she is inspired by. Karima El Kharazze names the theatre director and writer Gerty Dumbury from Guadeloupe as her predecessor. Shots from the conversation with both women are framed with scenes from a public debate in which they share their individual experience.
Besides that, Finch and El Kharazze recount the significance of the Parisian May as the centre of the 1968 movement for them. For both of them, it is a myth similar to a reductionist advertising campaign, it overshadows many other important protest movements and it sidelines central continuities with women’s and labour movements long before 1968. Through her film, Roe would like to underline the fact that there have always been alliances between different fractions of the women’s movement and that the women’s movement has always been diverse and multi-layered.
Alex Martinis Roe is an artist and researcher working with film installation, events and publications on feminist genealogies, seeking to foster relations between different generations and positions as a way of participating in the construction of feminist histories and futures. She holds a PhD from Monash University Australia, was a fellow at Graduiertenschule UdK Berlin and won the Future of Europe Art Prize in 2018. In the same year, she published her first monograph To Become Two: Propositions for Feminist Collective Practice (Berlin and Milan: Archive Books, 2018). She is Senior Lecturer and Head of Drawing and Printmaking at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.