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DC: Semiramis (2019)

Tai Shani

Tai Shani creates violent, erotic and imaginative images, conveyed through dense, ornate language. She portrays feminine otherness as a perfect whole and situates it in a world full of cosmologies, myths and histories that negate patriarchy.
DC: Semiramis presents an allegorical city of women and consists of texts, performances, films and installations. It is an experimental and extensive adaptation of Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies from 1405. In this protofeministic book de Pizan sketches an allegorical city for remarkable women, where fact, fiction and myth intertwine. Tai Shani retains the original structure of the book, as well as its non-hierarchical approach. However, de Pizan’s patriarchal ideology is substituted for marginalised theories such as intersectional and queer feminism. Other sources of inspiration include feminist science fiction and post-modern architecture. This approach makes it possible to introduce a diversity of voices and non-hierarchical perspectives on history, science and nature. The project offers not only the physical and conceptual space to consider alternative histories, but also allows for the criticism of contemporary gender constructions and possible visions of post-patriarchal futures.

The size and scope of DC: Semiramis challenges the notions surrounding traditional feminist art that have for centuries concentrated on the domestic, the artisanal and the personal body. With this project Tai Shani expands the canon of feminist artistic practices. Furthermore, she reflects on the possible role and contribution of art in light of rapid political shifts in the fields of gender, race and class.In this way Tai Shani raises pressing issues of contemporary feminist thinking: how can one represent post-patriarchal subjectivity, identity and language while at the same time avoiding a biologically essentialist position?

Credits: DC: Semiramis (2019). Courtesy Tai Shani. Co-produced by Netwerk Aalst.