Pre-emptive mourning against the bomb: exploded domesticities in art informed by feminism and anti-nuclear activism

Kokoli, Alexandra M. ORCID: (2017) Pre-emptive mourning against the bomb: exploded domesticities in art informed by feminism and anti-nuclear activism. Oxford Art Journal, 40 (1) . pp. 153-168. ISSN 0142-6540 [Article] (doi:10.1093/oxartj/kcx004)

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Art informed by second-wave feminism has often cast domestic space as a site of ambivalence if not unhomeliness, inspired by gender-critical dissent. This article expands on previous research into the strategic unhomeliness of feminist art by focusing on works informed by anti-nuclear activism as well as feminism in the 1980s. Drawing on psychoanalytic approaches to conflict, I trace anti-nuclear (per)mutations of dystopian domesticity in feminist visual and material cultures that give form to the collective nightmare of a nuclear holocaust. In the art practice under consideration domesticity is thrown into crisis anew: the home is expanded into a site of pacifist resistance while also being cast as the place of the feared premature and violent death of loved ones by nuclear disaster. Motherhood and gendered care-giving are simultaneously challenged and mobilised in the consciousness-raising performances and posters of Sister Seven, as well as Margaret Harrison’s recreations of the periphery fence of the Greenham Common RAF military base. The feminist pacifist – curative – response to the threat of nuclear war as a ‘paranoid elaboration of mourning’ (Fornari) is pre-emptive mourning, which, unlike pre-emptive strikes, rises to the defence of survival.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > CREATE/Feminisms cluster
Item ID: 21655
Notes on copyright: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Oxford Art Journal following peer review. The version of record Alexandra M. Kokoli; Pre-Emptive Mourning Against the Bomb: Exploded Domesticities in Art Informed by Feminism and Anti-Nuclear Activism. Oxford Art J 2017; 40 (1): 153-168. doi: 10.1093/oxartj/kcx004 is available online at:
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Depositing User: Alexandra Kokoli
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2017 10:18
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 18:04

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