The Shift

missplaced women conversing

:::::: missplaced women conversing ::::::

On the occasion of the Performance Studies International Conference #15 in Zagreb, Croatia, the cyberfeminist art collective subRosa will convene a shift of eminent and emerging intergenerational, international artists and scholars.

Miss|Placed Women will combine art, activism, politics, and hospitality to explore and critique the intersections of technologies and globalization on women’s lives, bodies and work.


In their introduction to Global Woman, Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild write: “The life-styles of the First World are made possible by the global transfer of services associated with the wife’s traditional role—childcare, homemaking, and sex—from poor countries to rich ones. … Today…the wealthy countries also seek to extract something harder to measure and quantify, something that can look very much like love.” This transfer of women’s care work, maintenance labor, and labor of love is invisible because it takes place in private homes, clandestine clubs, sweatshops, or factories. However, if we care to look and to listen, it soon becomes evident that “global women”—migrants, transients, refugees, exiles, and displaced women—are among us everywhere, on street corners, in waiting rooms, on trains, buses, planes, in shelters, and makeshift homes, refugee camps, orange groves and shanty-towns (harvesting and preparing our food, caring for our children and aging parents, cleaning our homes and offices, assembling our clothing and cell phones, answering tech support phone calls, and salvaging our electronic debris).

In June of 2006, subRosa attended PSi#12: Performing Rights in London. That year’s conference posed the question “What can performance do for human rights, and human rights for performance?” Ironically, despite all good intentions, the artist Elena Marcevska (neé Jovanova) could not attend because she was never issued the letter of invitation to be a conference delegate that would have enabled her to obtain the travel visa required for her to visit London.

Two years later, in June 2008, subRosa conducted A Week with|out Women in Zagreb. Each evening we held a salon in collaboration with women artists, activists, professionals, educators, and students. We used the space to document collective concerns and to translate those concerns into demands. Each successive morning, we tried to enact the demands in some way, working to publicly acknowledge the oft invisible desires and labors of women in Zagreb.

Miss|Placed Women, subRosa’s performance shift for PSi#15 plays with concepts of “missing” and “placement” in order to call attention to women whose stories, labor, and contributions are often missing from national histories, textbooks, cultural archives, and official proceedings. We have mis-performed a call for “the usual suspects” to honor the many women who are “missing in action” due to violent nationalist and ethnic wars, religious repression, poverty, and gender discrimination. Together with an international and local slate of female shift participants we tell survival stories and model acts of resistance by displaced women while honoring women’s determination to create more sustainable and pleasurable lives. We both question and re-evaluate women’s traditional “place” in the private sphere of the home, and as mothers; and examine the many new places in which women find themselves in the era of global migration, displacement, and homelessness. Finally, we provide a platform for intergenerational women artists, activists, and theorists to directly confront changing localized conditions of women’s lives inside the mobile spaces and places of global “development.”