Relationship Anarchy – Cartoons

Maria Ellinor Persson

These cartoons are a project on Relationship Anarchy which was first on display in Buenos Aires at the IASSCS conference ‘Sex and the market place -what’s love got to do with it?’, August 2013. The images can also be viewed (and enlarged) on my Relationship Anarchy website.

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Relationship Anarchy as unruly political economy?

Graphic reflections on relationships as political statements by Maria Persson

The counter-culture of the 1970s was an era of free love characterized by non- monogomous relationships, or so the story goes. Free love probably never disappeared, but it has definitely reappeared with vigor. Today’s polys have adapted free love to form a concept of responsible non-monogamy which is fulfilling as a way of life and particularly of thought. At the radical end stands the Relationship Anarchist movement indicating a third wave of polyamory as unruly politics.

In times of economic meltdown this widening of the poly movement poses interesting questions: is it an expression of Western individualism or a form of resistance to Western capitalism, or perhaps both?

In this exhibition I will examine the issues that self-identified polys and RAs face, and how they advise each other. The focus group is made up of 94 people that has been connected through Facebook and now meet regularly in Malmö, Sweden, usually over coffee, and methodology for interaction has alternated between participatory observations and online discussions. Interest is directed towards their own reflections as well as the possibility of the life style as a conscious choice to engage with the political economy of the body, the household and to challenge the family as a fundamental economic unit.

Comic drawings are the tool for presentation, due mainly to the immediacy of comics across cultural borders, where social media has heightened our ability to read images. Through the mix of text and image that comic drawings provide, a fun, beautiful, and informative way to analytically and politically reflect on society is accessed.

Maria Ellinor Persson is a queerpositive artist and activists, even though s/he’s recently been more present in the board rooms rather than on the streets. At the moment Maria is doing an internship with the NGO Nijera Kori in Bangladesh on a women’s rights programme. Maria’s participation in the recent IASSCS conference was funded through the Gender, Power and Sexuality programme, hosted by the PPSC team  at IDS.

Read the previous blog post about the IASSCS conference:


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