Aleksandra Mir

Overture: Aleksandra Mir

Flash Art, Milan, March/April 2000
By Diana Stigter & Jaqueline Van Elsberg

As with everyone born in the sixties, Aleksandra Mir seems to be afflicted by a fascination with the ideals of those years. Too young to even have taken part in the last decade with any sort of awareness; she looks to the past to comment on what we might have missed. Mir has appropriated and personalised the highlights of those turbulent years. Call it an enquiry into the ways that our generation can bring the values and norms of those days to life. One of her first projects is called New Rock Feminism (1996).

At the Roskilde pop festival in Denmark, Mir campaigned for more female bands: We want more female bands! At the festival she collected about a thousand signatures and personally presented the petition to the organisers. Mir's project was both a recollection of similar such actions from the 60s as well as a frivolous performance. Even people who signed up such as Bj¯rn Borg or Superman, and had completely different things on their wish list, could count on Mir's sympathy. Just by carrying out her research in a contexts where the after effects of Woodstock are still apparent, Mir shows how ambiguous her call for political involvement is.

Without the subjects being aware of it, Mir manoeuvred them into making a statement: More female bass players, more toilets, more trash cans. The Northern Holland coastal resort of Wijk aan Zee had the honour of being the location for the First Woman on the Moon, Mir's most recent project. She apparently missed the lice images sent out by Armstrong and this time around, seeks revenge by arming herself with a vanity case and the starring role. On the 28th of August 1999—30 years later—with the help of some earth moving machinery, part of the beach was transformed into a lunar landscape where Mir planted the American flag at sunset. Obviously she knew she was creating a convincing media spectacle: Hasselbladt was once again snared in as a sponsor, and Mir posed as a moon goddess swathed in a fancy dress. As in We want more female bands; the ideals of the first feminist wave take on a humorous tone. With a sublime feel for girl power, she ensures that her wildest dreams do come true. Whether she's building on sand or not, if the moon doesn't come to Mir, Mir will come to the moon.

(translated from Dutch by Rosemary McKisack)
Diana Stigter is an art historian based in Amsterdam.
Jacqueline van Elsberg is an editor of the Dutch magazine Skrien.