Threaded Voices Election Night:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Threaded Voices Election Night: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Artist Statement

This multimedia poem freezes in time naturally occurring articulations of feminist challenges, commitments, collaborations, and shock on the night of the descent into a new regime of political (dis)order. Employing the technological affordances of digital fourth-wave feminism, the work remixes feminist waves not only to create novel hybrid pastiches, but also to capture, transmit, and expose misogynistic ideologies of everyday life. As a multimodal piece, the work exemplifies distributed connectivity to “call out” and challenge misogyny. It is a fourth-wave “nasty womanifesto” in its connected, international/global sensibility, that explicitly names and repudiates misogyny of the current political and social landscape. It draws upon and speaks to first-wave, second-wave, and third-wave feminist concerns around education, suffrage, voice, agency, ownership, safety, inclusion, and community--commitments endangered by new threats. It conveys a cautionary, but hopeful, view that, half a century later, second-wave and third-wave feminist achievements, such as reproductive rights, equality in educational funding, and workplace parity, are not so much cause for celebration, as they are sober realizations of gains that are modest and fragile.

Specifically, the work presents unedited voices, raw emotions, and nascent structures of feelings of a small group of feminists from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and locales--a micro-feminist collective. The visual arrangement of the poem is symmetrical with words and images balancing and reflecting each other. Comprised of text, screen images, dissonant phrases, communicative initiations and responses, appearing, disappearing, and reappearing again, the work suggests the immediacy, reciprocity, and temporality of everyday micro-exchanges that, ultimately, constitute elements of feminist waves. The work also portrays words as images. Stop-motion animation visually emphasizes “cut-and-paste” segments of discourse to reinforce the notion of discursive forms as building blocks of feminist meaning and import. Woven between the screens of dialogue, sit stanzas of free-form poetry that visually mimic the analogue typewriter to harken back to earlier feminist waves, and offer another layer of interpretative context. Drawing upon themes related to social theory, everyday life, feminist imperatives, and reactionary politics, the piece renders fourth-wave feminist reflections about the mystifying effects of rhetoric and ideology to suggest promising alternatives to white male patriarchy.

Participants in “Threaded Voices Election Night” grapple with making sense of unfolding events and their implications. Shared utterances of connection and solace contain within them expression of age-old waves of feminist movements remixed to counter the dangerous backlash of today’s fraught conditions. The dialogue and poetry articulate third-wave feminism’s materiality of discourse with reinvigorated fourth-wave feminist resistance. Intersectionalities of place, age, race, class, gender, nationality, and ability, illuminate the relationships between micro felt experiences with macro socio-economic political structures. Implicit in these exchanges is engagement with the question: what do these events and circumstances mean for living a feminist life? The question, itself, encapsulates the strivings and accomplishments of all feminist waves and points to new futures beyond white male supremacy. While taking in the piece, the authors encourage readers to consider their own meaningful moments of feminist support, insight, and resistance as well as to imagine new ways of cultivating feminist solidarity and activism in an age of toxic misogyny.

   Threaded Voices Election Night: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
In the late hours of that Tuesday night and into the early hours of Wednesday morning,
a victory

of the misogyny,
the dog whistle racism,
the law and order platform,
the alternative facts,
of an alternative regime of truth.

Against political correctness,
reinscribing boundaries of inclusion and exclusion,
marginalizing the marginalized,
with support from half of the white female electorate.
The cultural theorist Fredric Jameson famously declared, 
“it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.”

And we would add:
It is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of patriarchy.

Except that it isn’t.
Mom, “Did you hear about the four Black kids who were threatened with a knife at Portland High School last week?”

This, in our state, Maine, with the second lowest crime rate in the nation--second only to Vermont.  
On that January Saturday,
after the darkest Friday,
along with millions around the world,
Angela Davis breathed life and focused purpose:
"Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out.”

Mom, “We marched and protested with our sister schools again today.”
Threaded Voices Election Night (Responses)

Maureen Ebben, Ph.D. (University of Illinois) is an Associate Professor in the department of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Southern Maine. Her teaching and scholarly research interests focus on the intersection of gender, language, culture, technology, and communication. She teaches courses on social media and communication, media criticism and aesthetics, communication research methods, interpersonal communication, and gender communication. Her work explores the material and discursive deployment of technologies for teaching and learning, especially critical approaches to open education across the shifting terrain of higher education. She is co-editor of the book Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship. Her research has been published in the volume Teaching, Learning and the Net Generation: Concepts and Tools for Reaching Digital Learner as well as in journals such as Learning, Media and Technology, Women’s Studies in Communication, UCLA Law Review, and Women and Language.

Elizabeth Bull, B.A. (University of Southern Maine) is a recent graduate from both the department of Communication and Media Studies and the department of Studio Art (sculpture) from the University of Southern Maine. Her educational interests center around exploration of the intersectionalities of communication processes and the social and communicative role of the arts as both an extension and instigation of human communication. Her work draws inspiration from the inherent capacity of the visual arts to transcend space, time, language, gender, and culture. She plans to embark on graduate study in an interdisciplinary program to combine her educational interests with her other passions including history, culture, and community engagement.

Cover Image:

Meg. (2017, Jan. 21). Women's March on Maine [Photograph]. Retrieved from