In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • excerpts from The Unstable Subject and Changing the Subject
  • Susan E. Jahoda

The Unstable Subject and Changing the Subject are mixed-media installations that incorporate diverse sculptural elements and mixed-media (film, photography, text and sound components). I began work on "The Unstable Subject" in 1991. The project evolved out of a series of diaristic texts alluding to the complex interplay of a female "self", the family and the State in relation to holocaust histories. In part The Unstable Subject attempts to problematize the autobiographical place of the artist/myself in order to resist readings that locate the voice as victimized, isolated, and unilateral. The project also detours from traditional recountings and struggles towards histories and memories that are active processes in the present. Changing the Subject is a collaborative project being produced under the name of HYBRIDAXE. It is intended as both an investigation and intervention in gender construction and identity politics in relation to new technologies and epistemologies of the self and society. As radical identities emerge they challenge biologically determined models of sexuality. Our aim is to articulate the formation and appearance of these identities. Both projects pose questions about the ways in which social groupings interact and how these interactions are determined -- in a fluctuating process of acting and being acted upon by history, culture, and language. The questions emerge through deliberate slippages in the relationships between image/sound/text and indicate disjunctures between the varied representations we reproduce in records of ourselves and others.


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When she told her she was taking birth control pills she called her a whore. When she told her she was recovering from an abortion she told her not to mention it to her father. When she told her she was on a diet she said she was anorexic. When she told her the man the was marrying wasn't Jewish she said she wasn't coming to the wedding. When she was five months pregnant she told her giving birth was agonizing. When she told her not to tell anybody she did. When she told her she was a feminist she said she was one too. One night she dreamt they were identical twins. One night she dreamt they were identical twins. They dressed up like Mediaeval Madonnas. They dressed up like Mediaeval Madonnas. Like Joans of Arc. Like Joans of Arc. Like Ingrid Bergmans. Like Ingrid Bergmans. Like Winnie Mandelas. Like Winnie Mandelas. Like Lizzy Bordens. Like Lizzie Bordens. They sought their reflections in mirrors. They sought their reflections in mirrors. They didn't recognize themselves. They didn't recognize themselves. Only the other. Only the other. They became the other. They became the other. Her father became confused. He asked them to identify themselves. They couldn't. He became frightened. He decapitated them. He interrogated their bodies. He took them to a hospital where an attempt was made to put them together. She always had the feeling she wasn't herself.

He was choking on tears and cigarette smoke. She was afraid to say anything. Everything seemed to fill him with anxiety. She ran into the bathroom and vomited. She heard a bird warbling. Escaping into the bedroom she closed the door quietly. All of a sudden she felt cold. She opened his drawer. In between his stained underwear she found a small photograph. It must have been him in his late teens. He might have been smiling. She coudn't tell. On the back it was marked 1938. Underneath the date it said I am a Jew I am not a Jew I am a Jew I am not a Jew I am a Jew


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They were driving in a black car up an embankment. She wasn't sure who was at the wheel. A house appeared at the end of a very narrow passageway. He was convinced they could get there by car. She argued it was impossible. He insisted they try. They entered the house. Her mother was in the kitchen. Her apron was on backwards. There was an odor of burnt meat. Her father greeted her mother. He squeezed her...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6636
Print ISSN
0893-5378
Launched on MUSE
1996-04-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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