online platform and PDF magazine, 2022
In 2018, the Schwules Museum proclaimed the YEAR OF THE WOMEN* and focused on (queer) feminist perspectives and the positions of women, lesbians, inter, non-binary, trans and agender people throughout the annual programme. The aim of this long-term queer-feminist intervention was to permanently establish the adequate participation and self-representation of women*, lesbians, inter*, non-binary, trans* and agender people in the world’s largest institution for LGBTQIA+ history and culture, as well as to anchor community-based queer/feminist, anti-racist, intersectional politics in the structures and values of the house. It had an impact on all levels of the museum and strengthened it as a place of shared learning with and by multiple marginalized people. Instead of merely representing their positions, it fundamentally opened the institution to the articulation of complex political and aesthetic intersections. For the Schwules Museum itself, the project marked an institutional turning point: radically self-critical, multi-faceted, complex, fraught with tension, highly controversial, fiercely debated, and the most successful programme in SMU’s long history, it permanently changed the museum’s programming, collections, and organizational structures.
Now a multi-layered documentation of the project is going online with the website yearofthewomen.net. In terms of form and content, the digital archive is a new collection of the SMU archive and thus, a second intervention in the museum’s collection policy.
Artist and curator of the website Vera Hofmann was a member of the (volunteer) board of directors of the SMU from 2016-2020 and has been significantly involved in the strategic decisions of the SMU. Together with Birgit Bosold they curated the YEAR OF THE WOMEN*. Hofmann devoted the last two years to archiving and reflecting on the project. The result is a comprehensive inventory of contemporary and partly historic activist art, culture and theory of queer-feminists with a focus on Berlin as well as international perspectives.
The website offers insights into the complexity of the project via various media and ties in with the collective atmosphere that shaped it. Transparent and multi-voiced, the website is a place of care for this intensive “intervention from within” and, among other things, also explores possibilities for the public discussion of conflicts. It gathers the many loose threads of the project and condenses them precisely into documentation, reprocessing and transformation. The website is divided into two sections: The archive, where all content produced in the YEAR OF THE WOMEN* with 9 exhibitions and 131 events is stored in a simple structure, and the magazine, a meta-level of reflection, currently with 39 contributions and space for follow-ups.
The project is thus best practice in several respects: it shows how digital archiving can be accomplished and, in particular, how exhibition, event programmes and even processes and affects can be archived. It is a multi-layered source base for anyone interested in museum studies, contemporary history or questions of contemporary queer culture and politics and queer/feminist curating in particular. At the same time, the magazine is an open and public platform for those negotiation processes that transform events into history and thus shape collective memory.
yearofthewomen.netmagazine + archive YEAR OF THE WOMEN*Editors: Vera Hofmann und Schwules MuseumKonzeptionen, Redaktion, Umsetzung: Vera HofmannDesign and programming: Toni BrellIn the archive: 9 exhibitions and 132 eventsMagazine contributions by: Ulrike E. Auga, shofie bahalwan, Stephanie Bart, Roswitha Baumeister, Krista Beinstein, Lina Bembe, Atlanta Ina Beyer, Birgit Bosold, Casa Kuà, Giulia Casalini, Dajing, Luce deLire, Farzada Faarkhooi, Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi, Sanni Est, Candy Flip, Nika Fontaine, Johanna Gehring, Lena Rosa Händle, Vera Hofmann, Mehlab Jameel, Carina Klugbauer, Marinka Körzendörfer, Komminuτέρας, Lasse Långström, Juliette Lizotte, Taey Lohe, Sadie Lune, Barbara Mahlknecht, Verena Melgarejo Weinandt, Birga Meyer, Saadat Munir, gorjeoux moon, Rosa Navarrete, Gisela Notz, Katharina Oguntoye, Marit Östberg, Paulita Pappel, Luan Pertl, Jamila Prowse, Neeli Rana, Julia von Randow, Helena Reckitt, Claudia Reiche, Emilia Roig, Sylvia Sadzinski, A.L. Steiner, Barbara Teufel, Chris. E Vargas, Lorenz Weinberg, Gisela Fux Wolf, Patricia Zamorano, Dot Zhihan Jia
Support: Antje Achenbach, Victoria Anderson, Birgit Bosold, Johanna Gehring, Joris Kern, Sebastian Kraus, Therese Koppe, Andrea Lassalle, Sydney Ramirez, Zoya