Solanas’ Sisters – a project started together with the author Sara Stridsberg (S), taking its starting point in the life of the American Feminist Valerie Jean Solanas (1936-1988), scientist, philosopher, whore, surfer, hater of men, and author of the literary manifesto SCUM Manifesto (1968) – talking from the darkness of the street, mental illness and prostitution.
For two months in 2005 we travelled through USA following the footsteps of Valerie Solanas. We examined Valerie Solanas’ destiny/life story and our relationship with her vision and life as well as the surrounding society’s reaction to her manifesto and beliefs.
The actual trip took us first to Atlantic City, Virginia (Valerie’s place of birth and where she grew up), continuing to College Park, Virginia (Valerie studied at University of Maryland), Washington DC, Virginia (the heart of power), followed by Miami, Florida (where Valerie was admitted to a mental hospital during the 1970’s). We then landed in Chicago, Illinois (where several of the major Women’s Liberation demonstration marches took place in the 1970’s). We spent some time in San Francisco, California (where Valerie spent her last dark years in the prostitution area and the half way house hostel Bristol Hotel). The journey ended in New York City, New York (where Valerie spent time in the end of the 1960’s and parts of the 1970’s).
We mainly stuck to four themes in our work: “The Street”, “The Text”, “Representation” and “Sisterhood”. We examined the gap between expressing the largest feminist utopia and at the same time selling sex on the street. Valerie Solanas represent so many others. The working class girl with dreams of being an author. The manhating whore. The mentally ill patient with master pieces in her handbag.
Link to the performance I Didn’t Do It For Nothing >>
Valerie Solanas on art: “The respect for “art” and “culture” leads to – apart from forcing many women to boring, passive activities that distract them from more important and more rewarding activities and from focusing on their own talent – constant trespassing on our feelings by pompous PhD’s about the deep beauty in some rubbish.”