Fe+minus critically examines The Malleus Maleficarum, a 1486 book by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, which served as a guide for combating witchcraft. It depicted witchcraft as a perilous threat and ignited mass witch hunts that led to the persecution, torture, and execution of countless individuals, primarily women.
The book unjustly targeted women, portraying them as susceptible to witchcraft, promoting their prosecution, and endorsing the use of torture for confessions. Fe+minus delves into this dark history through photography, exposing the book's role in oppressing accused witches and challenging its authority. This project aims to spark critical reflection on the enduring influence of power structures and encourage discussions about contemporary women's oppression. It reclaims the agency of accused witches, challenging historical narratives and confronting the normalization of violence against women. The title, Fe+minus, alludes to the book's false etymological claim that "Femina" (Latin for "woman") derives from "Fe" ("faith") + "minus" ("less").
Macarena Costan is an artist and photographer based in Bristol, England. She holds a first-class BA (Hons) in Photographic Art from the University of South Wales, which she completed in 2016, and an MA from the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) with distinction. Her work titled ‘Caliza’ has received recognition as a commended entry for the Genesis Postgraduate Award in 2019, and she was selected as one of the winners of Flash Forward 2019. Additionally, her work has been featured in the LOOK photo Biennial/satellite program in Liverpool. Macarena has exhibited her work internationally, including at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China, Ffotogallery in Wales, and most recently at the Martin Parr Foundation in England. She has been regularly commissioned as a behind-the-scenes photographer and has worked on diverse commercial and editorial projects. Her work has been showcased in various international online and print publications, such as PHmuseum, Der-Greif, and Fast Forward – Women in Photography, among others.
Macarena’s artistic focus revolves around shedding light on socially and politically overlooked or ignored topics, exploring concepts of femininity, gender stereotypes, identity, and cultural traditions. She is interested in expanding the vocabulary of photographic vision and exploring the creative possibilities within the medium.