A multimedia performance regarding social constructs of gender and an attempt to reverse the process of such constructs rendering the body into a state of ‘ungenderness’. How could we explore a way in which the body could initiate a process of reversal into abandoning racial gendered behavior and expectations from early socialization? For many subjectivities, the experience of gender fostered by their birth sex causes trauma and desolation in many cases since we live in major hetero-normative societies that demand accurate stereotypical performances based on sex/gender.

It started from the premise that I wished to initiate a process of hyperawareness and sensitivity towards racialization and gendered based bias and normative pressures towards my body and then proceed to create ruptures with such elements by ritualizing the body to abandon them. The process never has a point of arrival since it is eternal with certain pivotal points in the peeling off, of such socially constructed and contextualized experiences. Ungendered Body becomes a universe of solace where I can share my striving to become aware of oppressive societal forces and the ways in which it oppresses many like me, but also it offers me a space of authorship where I transform such experiences and the awareness of it into something transcendental in the end. This work came to be out of my exposure and study of post-colonial, queer and feminist literature.

‘Ungendered Body’ is an attempt to understand blackness, gender, sexuality, my own personal body history inserted in heteronormative, patriarchal, white, spaces, yet, yearning to move away from ideological projections that hurt us. These ideological projections come from these spaces. Just like Luce Irigaray attempted to create a writing form – écriture feminine- or a feminine language, more of a poetic language created by women and for women (which is relevant although incredibly essentialist and separatist), or Donna Harraway writing cyborg manifestos attempting to recreate the body rejecting patriarchal notions of the body, or Patrick Johnson attempting to write an anti-essentialist blackness that could take different forms, genders, sexualities and identities, just to name a few… Like them, I attempt to create a visual, physical and sensorial, artistic language in order to re-ascribe gender and blackness by first render the body incredibly aware and sensitized regarding ways in which the black body has been pathologized, denied, tortured, in modern times; moreover, ways in which we perform a black gender and ways in which our bodies become ‘performed’ by the other, by regulatory power and practices and institutional structures. These processes occur through ideological projections, expectations, coercion, violence resulting in trauma for instance at times when we become racialized – and of course this kind of racialization occurs with another – specially a white other.

This first phase is captured in the video performance narrative where Nele Kadastik, Jonas Hall and I have together created these visual metaphors of trauma and body violence. The poetry aids these images at taking shape and form a powerful narrative.

Photo-documentation by Gergana Kurukyuvlieva and Urban Explorer Copenhagen