On Sunday 3rd February hundreds of women aged 60 or over came together to exchange shared histories in feminist activism in Suzanne Lacy’s performance artwork Silver Action at The Tanks at Tate Modern.
After months of preparation The Tanks were alive with challenging, revealing and inspiring conversations which were simultaneously documented live.
Personal stories were collated by stenographers and projected onto the walls of The Tanks, debates over a large kitchen table held by key feminist activists were filmed, and the conversations of women seated at card tables were reinterpreted by a group of activist individuals via social media networks who would take a stool to a card table, sit down and listen.
These individuals witnessed the conversations that took place over four waves of women entering The Tanks throughout the day and published their interpretations of discussions on Twitter using the #silveraction, taking the performance beyond The Tanks out to an international activist community.
Following the performance the #silveraction had been tweeted over 3,000 times. In championing the inclusion and social relevance of older women, the experience of ageing and the challenges posed to role of women in social transformation were discussed across a range of topics - from parenting and climate change, to generational differences and the nature of the changing face of activism.
Alongside the photographs shared on Twitter and Instagram above, here is just a tiny snapshot of the thousands of tweets that re–told the stories and diverse experiences of women shared during Silver Action:
‘I was just a marcher, in a group of 20,000 women, but it made me involved in change’ - greater than the sum of our parts #silveraction
Now discussing how capitalism and patriarchy interact, and that this has got worse since they were doing feminist activism #silveraction
This woman lived in a commune in which they all raised their babies, all of them had the same last name, not related, awesome.#silveraction
Why is government/media comment on child care always addressed to mothers? Parenting is a shared job #silveraction A
‘I hope for as long as I live I retain my curiosity’ #silveraction
“You need those strong personal experiences. however small they may be, to stir you into doing something”#silveraction
Immediately following Silver Action those who visited The Tanks to see the performance shared their thoughts via Twitter:
Felt proud and a bit nostalgic at #silveraction today. So many women who had struggled for rights and peace for many decades. brillliant
I can’t save the world but I can save the local library.. #silveraction wonderful Tate inspiration
Feeling convinced by this weekend’s events that a new wave of over 60s #silveraction (with men too) might be enough to save us
Return to the BMW Tate Live series of blog posts for further posts following the performance and let us know your view on the debates and stories shared, here on the blog, via #silveraction and @Tate_Live on Twitter.