Grey Hair Action or Silver Action at the Tate.

Suzanne Lacy’s project at the Tate Modern. Went to one of the 10 workshops in preparation for the performance event tomorrow. I am so downhearted.

The open call to participate was titled “Grey Hair Action”. We were told yesterday that  Lacy had to bow to the Tate marketing department and the later publicity and news called the project ‘Silver Action’. I consider this as a blatant example of ageism. In a brief discussion with a couple of women I was told that silver has positive connotations:  quick silver, sparkle etc… I disagree. Do we have to be ashamed of our white hair in an event supposed to be a celebration of old age ?

I had hoped that in the workshop we would discuss ageing: our contribution to society in general, our activities and experiences as old women  how our ageing affect our lives. I thought the issues of the double jeopardy of ageism and sexism in the media and our invisibility would be raised. I thought that the issue of the crises in care and the cuts would be raised. They may have been talked about in the other workshops. I hope they were.

I hope that tomorrow will be more inspiring.

please see comments for more details.


2 thoughts on “Grey Hair Action or Silver Action at the Tate.

  1. It is so good to see that somebody is looking at this blog. Downhearted that it does not attract as much traffic as the film blog. But I am so glad to be challenged. In response to your question. It is difficult to have a general impression. We were warned that this would be a sculpted ?? discussion I hated the introductions that consisted of ‘get in your handbag an item that is important to you…’ I would have said ‘give your name and tell us what you do with your time’. In that way the diverse activities of the women present would have taken prominence. Apart of some women who declared themselves as poet, writer, artist we had little impression of how these retired or still working old women did. It seems to me that one of the problem of old women representation is that they are rarely shown DOING things.

    The break up in small tables of 6 we were given photos that I thought were very badly chosen: a milk bottle, a loaf of bread, three eggs, a line up of police with two women in anti-nuclear gear, a woman’s body minus the head next to a wire fence, keys, one table with chairs around it in a stark empty background and an inviting round table in a garden, a close-up of wavy blond hair with streaks of grey hair looking like an advert for hair conditioner. How I longed for an old wrinkled face, a witch, a woman in a wheelchair. Finally just a red card. I must say that it was the only one that I was prepared to comment on. Anger, resistance I said. I did feel manipulated.
    The next exercise was to ‘write on cards the times that you suddenly had a different view of the world and place on a time line’. This timeline started in 1945 and ended at 2000 with arrows towards the right but not a lot of space. What no development between 2000 and 2013 ? this time line was full of comments around the 70s-80s Greenham common etc…
    There was more exercises and a general discussion around feminist issues that at one time finished up talking about the difficulties that young women have in coping with the pressures of the modern world. At this point I had to speak and asked “why are we talking about the young? I am sure that they can look after themselves, why do we not talk about us, how we appear, etc.. ” I do not speak well and tend to antagonise people…. “we have to show solidarity with the old, the cuts that are affecting care etc….”
    I am glad Claire that you give me the opportunity to articulate my impressions.
    Apparently people will be able to access the event on #silveraction tomorrow.

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