Invisible Cities – Fighting Women is the title given to a combined 2D and 3D art installation by Debora Kaz that is currently open to the public through until the end of August 2022 at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas.
Supported by a custom lighting environment created by Adwehe, this is perhaps one of the most complex installations and layered installations I have seen – something that in itself is saying a lot: Dido has a consummate skill in challenging the artists she invites to exhibit at Nitroglobus, consistently leading to installations that stand head-and-shoulders above those found elsewhere in Second Life in terms of their richness of presentation, meaning, and narrative.
Perhaps the best way to describe the installation is to use Debora’s own words, both from the introductory notes (available via the giver at the landing point) and the open letter Debora has written form women and which is displayed on the north side of the gallery space (and which is included with copies of each of the pieces in the exhibition when they are purchased):
Invisible Cities – Fighting Women wants to show the pain and difficulty of being a woman in a world where women historically were portrayed as objects of desire, exposed to consumption, which induces rivalry, resulting in us women not having a real union to fight the violence that is directed at us.
– Debora Kaz, introducing Invisible Cities – Fighting Women
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world that is largely derived in terms of patriarchy, be it societal, historic, and religious or a mix of all three. It is a global environment where even today, women are faced with a broad range of physical violence (1 in 3 women world-wide will be beaten or raped or face other forms of direct violence at the hands of males at least once in their lives) and more subtle psychological violence.
It is something many women the world over are trying to address and overcome through projects and activities such as One Billion Rising, through protests, activism and even through art – as has often been seen here in Second Life.
However, as Debora moves to point out in Invisible Cities – Fighting Women, we so often undermine these efforts by committing “violence” upon ourselves and one another: we cave to the demands of advertising, objectifying ourselves, turning ourselves into things of desire to attract others; we seek to dominate one another at work or socially, and so forth.
Within this capitalist game of consumption and desire, women compete with each other attack each other in an irrational way; and most of the time, they are not aware of it, because of the superstructure. Structural misogyny occupies the minds of not only men, but it is also present in the formation of every woman who is born objectified. The demand to be desired grows and seeks to be desired all her life – by men, but mostly by women; to be desired by another woman is to have power, to be better than others is wanting to be better than any other woman.
With this in mind, the union that women desire [in order] to combat violence against women [as] imposed [by] the history of patriarchal societies becomes unviable. It is not possible to unite when someone wants to have one power relationship over another.
– Debora Kaz, Invisible Cities – Fighting Women
Through the 16 images and 5 sculptures, Debora presents aspects of all of this in quite vivid and engaging pieces. Within them, we can find reactions to patriarchal dominance (Fuck God) to the need for mutual support (I’m By Your Side), and more. Throughout all of the pieces, colour pays a major role. Pink references both female empowerment and the struggles we face – external and internal – to be understood as individuals, while harder, courser colours are used to represent emotional and the turmoil they can and create and the conflicts – again, internal and between one another – they induce.
Individually, these are striking pieces; each carries a weight of narrative that has impact – this cannot be denied. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit to being somewhat confused in understanding the core theme and message of this installation. I’m not sure if this is down to a shortfall on my part or because the artist has accidentally cast her net too wide and introduced to much in the way of narrative and subtext. As such, I encourage you to visit and explore Invisible Cities – Fighting Women for yourself and free from any confusion on my part.
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)