[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 18] [Art Strike 1990-1993]


1990 - <infinity>

"People have become way too comfortable with the established differences between men and women. Any refusal to recognize these can jeopardize comfort; the closer the affront to these divisions, the more threatened they become. The breakdown of sexual roles leads to a natural breakdown of the mystique of heterosexuality; homophobia prevents the elimination of separate genders in favor of one common one. Biology has little to do with what we do, whereas socialization has a lot to do with our biology."

Civilization operates by virtue of the energy that is harnessed from the splitting of certain entities which would otherwise exist in a complex interrelation. These are split into separate and dualistic categories. In the process of splitting these entities apart, they are redefined by civilization, their meaning and value being obtained from their social context. They are defined as opposite halves which are opposed to one another yet must have one another in order to exist. Extreme tension between the halves is created, which civilization utilizes to fuel its engines of oppression and destruction in its eternal alignment with death. Parent/child, thinking/feeling, work/play are examples of this process. These are entities which do exist separately, but their relational unity has been destroyed. We are interested in how these entities have been confused and mystified into concepts which control the behavior or function of the entity in its relation to other beings or functions with which it has contact.

One of the most fundamental and insidious of these dichotomies is female/male, as imposed by gender roles. It divides humanity into two halves which then begin to battle one another, with those in power reaping the benefits of the confusion and pain. As in all other instances, the dichotomized entities have been created and defined by a ruling elite. It is they who create the language, control the mass media, and, with patriarchal society, keep a tight control of us through the strictures of codified behavior.

The categories of female and male have little real bearing on an individual's personal inclinations, or on a person's biological differences from others, and forces per to adopt certain kinds of behavior based on the type of genitals per has, rather than according to per internal feelings, desires, needs.

We intend to question the role of gender itself and its relation to the dynamics of power within patriarchal society. We call on all those participating in this contrived fiasco to put down their roles, costumes, and masks, their assumptions, notions and standards of gender-oriented behavior. It will be necessary to adopt appearances and behavior which is contrary to one's personal gender history. This will constitute the early part of the strike. It must not remain in this stage, however. It must begin to continually shift in a puzzling and dizzying conglomeration of behavior and appearances that will disorient the observer's gender-based judgments, and eventually those of the strikers themselves, until the gender role loses its meaning as a criterion for reality assessment. This action is intended to shake patriarchal civilization to its very foundations.