Anna Uddenberg

I mean let’s come clean, engaging

with the surfaces of things is not to be

mistaken with being superficial. There

is a great essay written on this by Ulrika

Dalh called Surface Tensions: Femininities,

Feminisms, Femme Figurations. She

uses the idea of a surface tension to

describe the constitutive tension between

an “inside” that’s supposed to be

authentic and an outside that’s read as

superficial. She uses that to talk about

femininity. Accusing something of being

superficial, reveals some sort of disappointment

or need for the “authentic” or

“the genuine” (the performative genuine)

or the “real deal.” There is something

very disturbing and idealistic about that,

which reminds me of when people talk

about women wearing “too much” make

up, that they prefer the “natural look.”

And just as the “natural woman” is a

construction, there are certain aesthetics

for coming across as “socially and

politically engaged.” It’s a bit sad and

potentially also conformist, when one

asks art to fulfill one’s own ideas about

one’s self as somebody who cares

about politically urgent matters.