Nomen has a history. It is not just the name or the substantive in a grammatical system. In ancient Rome the nomen indicated to which gens (people) one belonged. It was basically the name of the family. The name of the family signified belonging, social status, identity, family history, religious affiliation and therefore identified one’s place in society. We chose this name for our group, because in most public instances we are marked before we speak, we are given a name before we can live our personhood. The constant marking has shaped our relation to the public sphere and the space that we occupy in it. As much as we tried we could not occupy the space of the abstracted universal individual. The constant marking of our presence in the public has urged us to stop hiding our particularity and rather to embrace it. Instead of being named, we want to emphasize our names and our political-social personhood. We know that we were never born female, a woman, a person of color, Jewish, Muslim or Christian. We became all these things in a socially marked body while being confronted with the ideal of an abstract bodiless voice. We also know that there is no abstract universal individual, but a powerful frame through which that abstract individual has become a reality.

We as the founding members of this group belong to Nomen, because of this shared experience. In this collective body we will pursue critical art and political practices that aims at the creation of spaces, in which discursive boundaries are blurred through participation, reflection and disturbance. By creating this possibility we want to reframe social issues and claim a political and ethical citizenship.

Nomen is us. We come from different ethnic, religious and professional backgrounds. We are artists, academics, human rights activists, but we are also mothers, sisters, daughters. We share a mutual concern that certain pressing social, political and ethical issues are confined to a dominant and hegemonic way of politicking, representing and ultimately performing power. Further, this form of political practice is based on representational hierarchy by which one person represents and/or voices an alleged fixed collective. We do not have the privilege to be apolitical, because the political affects the possibility to live a livable life. We take a different approach in performing and voicing concerns and issues. First of all, we do not represent any group or any political position other than claiming our right to act upon issues from a political and ethical point of view. We first and foremost represent ourselves by way of maintaining a collective form of critical and political action and interaction with those female members in society, who are affected or concerned by certain issues of political, social and ethical nature.

Emotions will play a key role in all actions and the general conduct of our collective. Emotions are not the irrational, embarrassing and private side of us, but rather the substance out of which our political and social concerns are made of. Relatedly, our bodies and the body as such will be the central locus and the starting point to think about political issues. Although as Nomen we seek to bring together women in order to generate political action, our aim is not to dissolve communal ties and religious particularities. Quite the contrary, we aim to demonstrate unresolvable particularity, unspeakable truth in order to generate a new ethical frame for marginalized forms of political and social life.

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