Experiment No. 4: a fortune for the memorial
Experiment No 4: A fortune for the memorial
During the first part of What can feminism do? we read fortunes to everyone who came to visit us at Third Space and who did not object. We used our temporary, feminist micro library from which to choose a book according to a number given by the person whose fortune was read. Then we chose a page and a chapter with the same technique. The method was as follows:
1. Choose a number between 1 and 40 (around the number of books we had in our library)
2. Choose a number between 1 and 100-200 (depending on the number of pages in the chosen book)
3. Choose a number between 1 and 3-5 (depending on the number of chapters on the page)
4. I read you your fortune, which is the chapter we end up with.
I will now read a fortune for the memorial.
I am using my own feminist library, and a list of numbers the memorial has given me via all the written documents I have of him (yes, I think of the memorial as a “him”). I have to use my own finger instead of his, close my eyes and choose this way for him.
I think about the question: Does a memorial have a voice?
The book he chose (or I chose for him, through his numbers that people have given him) is “Feminisms – Reviewing Concepts and Affirming New Positions” by h.arta (ed.) (2010). The book is in two languages, Romanian and English. The choice of page number, 18, lands me on a page that is in Romanian. I find the third chapter, then look for the same chapter in English, because I am not able to read Romanian.
I think about the question: What is the language of a memorial?
I read him his fortune:
“Developing the notion of gender is one of the most important accomplishments of Second Wave feminism. Understanding gender roles a s social constructs imposed onto the biological sex (considered as an essential identity pertaining to the nature of the human body) constituted a substantial counter-argument to the theory of biological determinism – according to which biology equalled destiny.
The distinction between gender and sex led to numerous investigations of normative gender roles in relation to the Woman and Man categories, which questioned pre-determined femininity and masculinity, considered thus far to be a natural thing. Developing the notion of gender as a social construct and using this notion to explore the causes of women’s low status in society, Second Wave feminism distanced itself from the First Wave, as its goal was complete gender equality, by which women enjoy the same rights as men in all spheres of life.”
This experiment has made me sad. It feels wrong that I choose for this other, that I speak in his name yet with no given authority.