Headlands Center for the Arts

Petra Bauer

Sweden | film/video/new media
Artist in Residence Program 2017

Artist Statement

I, Peta Bauer, am an artist and filmmaker interested in how aesthetics can be used to challenge contemporary social and political events and processes. Much of my work focuses on how women have collectively self-organised, within and beyond art, with an aim to change political and social structures as well as everyday life. Another recurrent theme that I address is the materialisation and consequences of the colonial world order on our present time. My works are always made in collaboration with existing social and political organisations, where we reflect together on how we can act politically through aesthetics means. We use feminist strategies and theories to critically focus on and politicise conditions of production, authorship, narrative structures, and the choice of aesthetic strategies. Recent projects include Sisters! (2011), A Morning Breeze (2015), and Read the MasksTradition Is Not Given (2008–to present).

While at Headlands

Rethinking Jeanne Dielman – a work in progess 

In 1975, the well-known filmmaker Chantal Akerman made the film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce1080 Bruxelles, which depicts three days in a middle-aged housewife’s life. As a character, Jeanne embodies at least three different roles: that of a housewife, mother, and sex worker.

Last year I started to re-visit Jeanne Dielman, with the intention to explore how women’s work can be addressed today through aesthetic means. The film serves both as a source of inspiration and as a method; following the structure of the film I intend to make three different works with three different focuses—domestic work, parenting, and sex work. I will, however, re-think the figure of Jeanne Dielman by discussing how today’s global society effects women differently depending on aspects such as age, class, ethnicity, and so on.

During my time at Headlands I will continue developing this work, but also take the opportunity to visit some sex-workers’ organizations in San Francisco that have been very important for the global sex worker’s movement.

Selected Works