close   The Spectrum Of Resistence

6 meetings – 7 women
Genèva, New York, Paris 2006–2009

A documentary project. About war and peace, feminism,
activism, diplomacy and the will to make a difference.

"But one does not like to leave so remarkable a letter as yours – a letter perhaps unique in the history of human correspondence, since when before has an educated man asked a woman how in her opinion war can be prevented? – unanswered. Therefore let us make the attempt; even if it is doomed to failure."

(Virginia Wolf / Three Guineas 1938)

Virginia Wolf writes Three Guineas 1937/38. A pacifistic, controversial and feministic book. Nazism and fascism grows in Germany and Italy, ideologies totally on the contrary of Virginia Wolfs own political conviction. With the situation in Europe as a background she is arguing in the form of a letter to a man, a middle aged barrister who had written, asking her ”How in your opinion can war be prevented?”

It´s strange that this question is still as topical today. Just as the question if it´s possible for women to be heard in the male power structures which rules in spaces of politics and diplomacy. It seems like the word peace has become rare in daily talks as well as on the political agenda. What happened? Did it pass the 'best before' date? Or is it even dangerous in a world where military solutions are made to a normality.

Between 2006 and 2009 I visit and talk to seven women who all work in the area of disarmament, nuclear weapon issues and human rights. With non-governmental organizations and with UN. They are originally from US, Zimbabwe, France, South Africa, Czechoslovakia now living and working in Geneva, New York and Paris. The talks were documented with simple equipment and in the beginning with no special aim or plan. More like an experimental project. I had no journalistic ambitions, only a curiosity for the individual, personal stories and experiences of these women.
Several hours of talk were in the end cut down to six video portraits with length between 7 and 20 minutes.

Virginia Wolf was critisizing the patriarchal society she lived in, arguing for more women in positions of politics, science, church and for more education. Believing that this was leading to a society less disposed for war. 70 years later the women I meet share similar thoughts and I wonder – how much has really changed. But they also share a sustainability, an indefatigable will, a strong belief that "it´s the little steps that take you there"

"They are questions of great difficulty and perhaps they are useless questions. But can we leave them unasked in view of this gentleman’s questions?
He is asking how can we help him to prevent war? He is asking us how we can help him to defend liberty; to defend culture. Also consider these photographs: they are pictures of dead bodies and ruined houses. Surely in view of these questions and pictures you must consider very carefully before you begin to rebuild your college what is the aim of education, what kind of society, what kind of human being it should seek to produce.
At any rate I will only send you a guinea with which to rebuild your college if you can satisfy me that you will use it to produce the kind of society, the kind of people that will help to prevent war."

(Virginia Wolf / Three Guineas)

The project was shown for the first time during three days and one night at Gallery Konstepidemin, Göteborg 8–10 October 2009. It consisted of 6 videos, three of them were projected directly to the walls and the rest shown on smaller flat screens. The text on the wall was drawn by Hannele Fernström.