Green Hijab Movement, 2017-2018
By Frans Jacobi and Gitte Sætre
The Green Hijab Movement is a proposal for a new global climate movement, started by artists Gitte Sætre & Frans Jacobi in the summer of 2017. We intend to create discussion and awareness on environmental issues and solidarity with the global south and started out with a series of workshops, performances, DJ-parties, and actions in public space.
The Green Hijab Movement deals with wicked problems. The staged movement is an art practice engaging with complex topics, in a poetic, critical and experiential way. Our climate situation is an urgent problem to be solved, and true it´s urgency it hopes to unite people. The project apposes structures that are linked to the entrenched powers of colonialism and institutionalized racism that separates people. Green Hijab Movement offer a model for dismantling and replacing destructive pattern of dividing people into groups.
Green Hijab Movement is a ‘detournement’, a displacement, of one of the strongest symbols of our time. The hijab has two symbolic meanings: The original religious meaning – the hijab is a protective symbol, a protection against various external forces; the sexualized gaze of men, the unholy proceedings of everyday life. The second symbolic meaning is a negation of the first; here, in contemporary Europe the hijab is a negative political symbol, signifying oppression of women, the lack of individual rights for women on a global scale. This second symbolic meaning occurs as a hijack of the original symbol by an unholy coalition of right-wing politics and feminist solidarity.
These two symbolic values are opposed and monumentally stable. They divide the public opinion into two uncompromisable opposed agendas. It’s a black and white division; either you are for one of these versions or you are for the other. Indifference seems impossible. If you don’t choose a side you are supporting the fundamentalist Islamic version.
The Green Hijab Movement proposes a detournement of this deadlock. By appropriating the hijab for a different purpose - by postulating a new, different symbolic meaning of this simple piece of textile - we attempt to break the established opposition of symbolic values. In our movement wearing the green hijab symbolizes global solidarity with the victims of climate change AND an engagement in the struggle to change our societies in the face of climate change. Pollution knows no borders and the effects of climate change hits hard, far away from where the climate crisis is produced. Climate change especially affects women of the global south, the same women that to a large degree are wearing the hijab.
The Green Hijab Movement is created by artists Gitte Sætre and Frans Jacobi as a series of artistic interventions in small or larger public situations.
A workshop at the Hardanger Peace Academy in Norway, summer of 2017
A 3-part contribution to Nørrekær Biennale, in the north-western part of Denmark.
(a meditation, a public speech, and a flag), summer of 2017
A DJ-session at KODE Art Museum in Bergen, September 2017, Norway
A 20x20 contribution to PechaKuchaNight: Freedom at the Corner Theatre in October Bergen
A contemplative reflection on the 2017 UCI World Biking Championships in Bergen.
An improvised series of staged photography and short format video-clips
A performance-lecture at the seminar Talking Textile, KMD, University of Bergen. December 2017.
A club night during the Climate Festival, January 2018
A performance at The Freedom Room – a three-day symposium on socially engaged arts during the annual Festspillene in Bergen (May 2018)