In the 9th century in Constantinople lived a woman whose name was Kassia. She was an abbess of the Byzantine Empire, a writer of worldly and spiritual poems , a collector of icon paintings and a composer of extraordinary chants and music. In fact, her musical works count among the oldest that have ever been transmitted by a female composer. Moreover, Kassia founded a monastery for women on the seventh hill of Constantinople, i.e. today‘s Istanbul, where she gathered those „sisters“ who she herself called in one of her poems: „the fallen women“. Kassia can thus be considered a very early feminist role model.
In the pandemic summer of the year 2021 the theatre director Mirjam Schmuck together with her free performance collective kainkollektiv started an imaginary journey through space and time heading towards Kassia in search of the past & future of female art making and feminist practices of art, music and care .
This journey eventually brought up a brandnew opera performance in collaboration with a female cast of performers, dancers and singers as well as the baroque orchestra Musica Sequenza and its musical director Burak Özdemir who composed a contemporary Kassia opera in dialogue with her own works.
Moreover, the performance process was accompanied by a transnational online conference about Kassia‘s life and works as well as on related issues such as women‘s rights, the istanbul convention, female art (& world) making or queer feminist activism. Speakers and experts, artists, activists and academics from all over the world were involved in eight digital talking sessions that have been streamed online in summer and autumn 2021.
All the discussions, discourses, questions and traces that have sprung from the collective work of seeking to make Kassia and (contemporary) issues related to her become alive are documented now on this website . However, it is not a mere documentary website that the media artists and web designers of MIREVI and sputnic have created in dialogue with kainkollektiv and its partners . It is supposed to be much more an archive in motion, a living and breathing, interactive platform that allows and invites everyone to a common practice of meeting, discussing, exchanging and thinking on together. It is meant to be an open map to a feminist future .
And with this little introductory remark we wish to invite you to come in and follow Kassia through times and spaces , meet her (imaginary) sisters and explore together with them, together with us the questions of this feminist future of art & care. Please feel welcome to move freely in the convent, to explore what speaks to your interest and imagination and to leave your own traces in order to enrich the archive and its future use and practice.
And please know that this is meant to be a space of empowerment, a safe space for collecting and sharing, encounter, experience and exchange There is no place here for any kind of aggressive, racist, sexist or any other form of discriminating behaviour and communication. It will not be tolerated in this space that we like to call the „new convention“ of which Kassia is the patron. Do you feel like meeting her and getting to know more about „herstory“? Then please enter the convention now. Kassia and the sisters will be more than happy to meet you inside!
KASSIA & THE NEW CONVENT(ION)
A performative archive
von kainkollektiv, MIREVI (HSD), sputnic - visual arts Illustrationen: Verena Herbst In Kooperation mit der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung & Gender Museum Istanbul
Gefördert vom Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen im Medienkunstfonds und von der Stadt Bochum
From & With: Agata Siniarska, Agnieszka Różyńska, Alexander Giesbrecht, Alexander Lingas, Alice-Mary M. Talbot, Amal Omran, Anna-Maria Holtmann, Anna Majewska, Anna Pekaniec, Annalyzer / Anelisa Stuurman, Anthi Karra, Artur Gerz, Aylin Vartanyan, Ayşenur Aydın, Barbara Harbach, Ben Fischer, Betül Elarslan, Beyza Keskin, Burak Özdemir, Burcu Kalpaklıoğlu, Burcu Özdemir, Cecily Hennessy, Christine Yohannes, Çiğdem Haliloğlu, Daniel Glomberg, David Nowottnik, Dominika Bremer, Ebru Nihan, Egana Djabbarova, Fabian Lettow, Füsun Ertuğ, Gülşin Ketenci, H. Muallâ Görkey, Hannah Busch, Hans-Martin Dederding, Hatice Zehra Selman, Hazal Halavut, İremnur Çelebi, Işıl Başak Arabacı, Ivana Druzetic-Vogel, Iza Gawęcka, İzel Zümrüt Durmaz, Jale Karabekir, Kaan Tanhan, Karin Karakaşlı, Katarzyna Słoboda, Katarzyna Żeglicka, Katia Savrami, Kerstin Pohle, Kerstin Pohle, Klara Diedrichs, Kübra Gümüşay, Kurt Sherry, Lee Cockshott, Liz James, Łucja Iwanczewska, Lydia Ziemke, Maja Lee Langvad, Malte Jehmlich, Marta Jalowska, Melissa Müller, Meral Akkent, Merve S. Öztürk, Milan Vukašinović, Mirjam Claaßen, Mirjam Schmuck, Mithu Sanyal, Monika Kwaśniewska-Mikuła, Muaz Semih Güven, Narîn Yukler, Niki Tsironi, Niklas Tluk, Nils Voges, Nisa Nur Arslan, Ömer Kaan İşleyen, Patrick Kruse, Patrycija Kowanska, Paulina Kramarz, Rümeysa Çamdereli, Sara Bigdeli Shamloo, Selin Su Bağcı, Serkan Yıldırım, Serra Akcan, Suna Kafadar, Sarah Plochl, Tang Siu Wa, Thomas Arentzen, Tuğçe Aydın, Vanessa Chartrand-Rodrigue, Verena Herbst, Wanda Künzel, Yeşim Koçak, Young-Won Song, Yunus Margaz, Zeynep Kübra Alkazak, Zuzanna Berendt, Monika Schäffler