GREEN HIJAB MOVEMENT
Yesterday we ended a first sequence of performative events entitled Green Hijab Movement. As a contemplative reflection on the 2017 UCI World Biking Championsships 22 persons stood still for 45 minutes in a pond on the side of the final tracks uphill on the Mens Individual Time Race. 22 persons each wearing the Green Hijab, standing in water, meditating the state of the climate as reflected by the Cycling Championships and the enthusiastic crowds.
The Green Hijab Movement is a ‘detournement’, a deplacement, of one of the strongest symbols of our time. The hijab has two symbolic meanings: The original religious meaning – the hijab is a protective symbol, a protection against various external forces; the sexualized gaze of men, the unholy proceedings of everyday life. The second symbolic meaning is a negation of the first; here, in contemporary Europe the hijab is a negative political symbol, signifying oppression of women, the lack of individual rights for women on a global scale. This second symbolic meaning occurs as a hijack of the original symbol by an unholy coalition of right-wing politics and feminist solidarity.
These two symbolic values are opposed and monumentally stable. They divide the public opinion in two uncompromisable opposed agendas. It’s a black and white division; either you are for one of these versions or you are for the other. Indifference seems impossible. If you don’t choose side you are supporting the fundamentalist islamic version.
The Green Hijab Movement proposes a detournement of this deadlock. By appropriating the hijab for a different purpose – by postulating a new, different symbolic meaning of this simple piece of textile – we attempt break the established opposition of symbolic values. In our movement wearing the green hijab symbolizes global solidarity with the victims of climate change AND an engagement in the struggle to change our societies in the face of climate change. Pollution knows no borders and the effects of climate change hits hard, far away from where the climate crisis is produced. Climate change especially affects women of the global south, the same women that to a large degree are wearing the hijab. Think Bangladesh.
The Green Hijab Movement is created by artists Gitte Sætre and Frans Jacobi as a series of artistic interventions in small or larger public situations. In its first two months of existence we have produced:
A workshop at the Hardanger Peace Academy in Norway.
A 3-part contribution to Nørrekær Bienalen, in the northwestern part of Denmark.
(a meditation, a public speech and a flag)
A DJ-session at KODE Art Museum in Bergen, Norway
A 20×20 contribution to PechaKuchaNight: Freedomat the Corner Theatre in Bergen
A contemplative reflection on the 2017 UCI World Biking Championsships in Bergen.
Plus an improvised series of staged photography and short format video-clips
The Green Hijab Movement is a proposal for a new global movement; it is slowly gathering momentum and each of these events have engaged new participants. Of course, it is very, very far from being a real political movement – but it is to be understood as a potential possibility. Or as the artist Liam Gillick has termed a series of works: A ‘what if situation’.