'The Commodity Speaks' panel 'Hearing Voices'

KIVLAND, Sharon (2016). 'The Commodity Speaks' panel 'Hearing Voices'. In: Feminist Readings 2: Theory, Practice and Politics of Reading Today, University of Leeds, 14-15 April 2016. (Unpublished)

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For some years I have been reading Capital, reproducing and rewriting it; for example, working diligently through the footnotes of Capital, chapter by chapter, as a series of pamphlets, each with a dust-jacket in Financial Times pink and a tipped-in photograph of nicely-shod women's feet as a frontispiece, or as thirty-nine tracts, bound in legal tape and conflating the language of lingerie fashions with political economy. I am trying to find a woman speaking, but all I find is an object speaking, in the charming voice of the commodity in the chorus of all the goods going to market. Sometimes I have changed ‘it’ to ‘she’, in my determination to find my object (in French, I find her already for the commodity – la marchandise – is happily feminine), in fair exchange and a refusal of neutrality. It’s men’s business, says Luce Irigaray, all production, of women, signs, and commodities are always referred back to men. Commerce is made of women, she says, but men do not enter into any exchanges with women. If a commodity cannot go to market and perform an exchange in its own right, if a thing lacks the power to resist men, then I can take its place. This is an embodied reading, in a lovely voice, nicely dressed (I am a ventriloquist whose will resides in an object): Now listen to me as I speak through the mouth of the economist: ‘Value is my property and my value implies exchange. My attribute is value. This two-day symposium poses the question of reading with feminist theory, art and politics. It turns to reading and re-reading not only as a critical and scholarly activity but also as a key aspect of feminist political and artistic interventions. Reading is understood not only as a critical approach that engages with a close study of a rich and diverse landscape of feminist thought but also as a creatively engaging process with its complexities, affinities, contradictions and differences. The symposium follows a feminist tradition in which reading is a political act, most recently endorsed and situated within pedagogy, intimacy, aesthetics and postcolonial studies by Gayatri Spivak (2003, 2012). It intervenes in the field of feminist studies with a specific focus on philosophy, psychoanalysis, critical analysis and the production of ‘texts’, whether they take the form of literature, film, visual arts or performance. Reading is conceptualised in the broadest sense both as a concrete practice and as a metaphor for feminist self-reflexivity, as a productive and creative process, a means and space of transmission, transformation and imagination.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Sharon Kivland
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2016 10:09
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2016 10:09
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12461

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