By Imke Ruigrok

Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, in which white males discuss a nuclear war, Yael Bartana developed her interdisciplinary film What if Women Ruled the World? She wondered what the results would be of a discussion in which women dominated the political arena. This was the reason to furtherexamine the question through her interdisciplinary project, which was set up as an experimental and activist forum to explore alternatives to a world dominated by men.

Over 60 internationally renowned women - defence consultants, soldiers, peace activists, politicians and leading thinkers – were brought together to explore new routes as an alternative to male discourse.

During extensive plays, profound performances that fall somewhere between fiction and non-fiction, activism, research and politics, Bartana brings together female experts to discuss pressing global issues.

Bartana is critical of the common stories that define our standards regarding nationality, identity and gender. She masterfully unravels the patterns of our observation and in doing so expands our existing visions. By alternating fiction and non-fiction, adding layers of meaning, and turning stories around, she brings flexibility to rigid boundaries, facilitating new perspective. What we thought was true turns out to be changeable, different even; thank goodness. With What if Women Ruled the World? Bartana offers greater insight into the relevance of the female voice in the debate on, and the search for, possible solutions to worldwide problems.

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