Flow: The Exhibition on Menstruation

Address Arnimallee 25, Berlin
Event website www.smb.museum…
Venue's website www.smb.museum…
Curator Jana Wittenzellner

Some 2 billion people in the world menstruate. An additional 1.5 billion have had or will have their periods. Nevertheless, menstruation is considered a taboo topic. The exhibition combines personal and museum objects, interviews, music, film and art to examine related discourse and debates over the last decades, trace menstrual product development from the late 19th century to the present and provide space for menstruators’ voices.

Menstruation has been part of the public discussion for about ten years now. Women publish period manifestos, campaign against period poverty, inadequate care and information, develop new menstrual products, and post their experiences on social media under hashtags such as #periodpositivity and #menstruationmatters. Even though every school now provides educational information, and menstrual products are sold for the most varied needs, the path to “period dignity” is still quite far. Neither have all the bodily processes surrounding menstruation been sufficiently researched, nor have the taboos about talking about it, period poverty, and other hurdles been eliminated, which would allow those who menstruate to experience a more dignified relationship with this natural process.

With Flow: The Exhibition on Menstruation, the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK) presents a history of pragmatism and utopias, of inventiveness and activism. The exhibition brings together around 100 historical and brand-new menstrual products, as well as advertisements, diagrams, interviews and hands-on stations, to impart the status of current knowledge. Including nearly 200 everyday objects, photos, graphics, newspaper articles and social media posts, the exhibition features the discourses that for decades have accompanied those who menstruate. The topics discussed include issues such as performance, period poverty, waste, “normality”, a connectedness to nature, and moods.

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