An Inventory for Feminist Upheaval : A film & manifesto.
Counterspace worked with students and staff from the Graduate School of Architecture as part of the Trans-We Should All Be Feminists short film project. This film was written, directed and produced by Counterspace with Prof Lesley Lokko and Dr Huda Tayob. Filming team by One Way Up Productions.
Act 1, Scene 1
ALL FILMING TAKES PLACE IN THE RAND CLUB IN THE ROOM IN WHICH THE PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH II HANGS, THE FIRST WOMAN TO BE ADMITTED TO THE CLUB.
Gugu & Sumayya: Factory/barraccoon/hold/plantation/servant’s staircase/portraits/lift
Huda: Ghetto/workhouse/brothel/prison/side entrance for concubines
Sumayya: Carceral landscape/banlieu/township/location/side alley/ballroom
Sumayya: Surplus women are the agents of the riot.
Sarah, Sumayya, Huda, Gugu:
‘We broke through the earth and now we fall through time
Deep gashes in the ground
We scale the edges of our knowing
What we stand on is not masonry
It is the torn place unhealed
The footholds come from how unclean the break.’ – Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Yolisa: The methods of struggle are improvised in the cell, improvised in the air, improvised from nothing – Saidiya Hartman
Althea: The riot is like a general strike, a bridge between now and the free territory – Saidiya Hartman
Althea: Nameless and formless, about to be birthed but already felt. – Audre Lorde.
Cornel: Feminists are activists to whom the dignity, rights and futures or women we love matter.
Maladi: The enclosure provides the field for heroic deeds – Saidiya Hartman
Kgaugelo: A woman must hold the knife by its sharp point. – Zulu proverb
Karuni: Was anarchy merely the expression of love and care? – Saidiya Hartman
Kate: ‘We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That’s OK.’ – Laverne Cox
Huda: The beautiful sentinels are gathered – Saidiya Hartman
‘What did she think of herself?
Or quite a lot.
Depending on how you looked at it.’ – Arundhati Roy
Tonia: They dream a new set of arrangements. They dream the end of involuntary servitude. – Saidiya Hartman
Olasumbo: The riot seeks to preserve nothing. – Saidiya Hartman
Heidi. ‘The executioner kills twice, the second time by silence.’ – Elie Wiesel
Terrence: The reformers and the journalists didn’t know that the foyer, the fire escape, shebeen and the rooftop were stretches of urban beach.
Karuni: The reformers and the journalists didn’t know that the foyer, the fire escape, shebeen and the rooftop were stretches of urban beach.
Amina: They didn’t know that the hallway and the stairwell were places of assembly, a clearing inside the tenement or that you love in doorways – Saidiya Hartman.
Sarah, Sumayya, Huda, Gugu: And this is what we found: an inventory of a feminist upheaval.