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UNDEGENDERED BODY: Post-Performance

“Ungendered Body” – A collaboration with Nele Kadastik and Jonas Hall

 

Poem Manifesto read at the live performance

 

Body, body, visceral,

Flesh until hitting bone

Body, body, visceral,

Flesh until hitting bone

Body, body, corporeal

Imagination until lost in the astral

Body, body corporeal

Imagination until lost in the astral

 

The blood screaming in my veins from ancestors

Those, lived bodies

Came from the ground soil

The tint of the soil is imprinted in our skin

Soil, reflecting mirror, soil

Soil, reflecting mirror, soil

Soil, container of richness, while dances with the sun,

 Life unkept in the underground for it’s bound to expand

Melanin,

Melanin lives

Feet on the ground hearing trees

Feet on the ground eating from the bushes

Feet on the ground, flora germinating

Wrapping roots enlacing the body

Green from the leaves whispers the female gaze

My gaze shouting through my whole body once

My female gaze fluid, your body rendered more than words and bones and thoughts, but a force

My female gaze fluid

As the beats the of rain sometimes skips

As the rhythms of the oceans in cosmic waltz - all the elements dance

As the sounds of the wind laugh tickling vulvas gently in the open air

Whispering new stares of the erotic from my entrails

Nature of the queered eye in spaces of the twisted

 

Body, body, visceral,

Flesh until hitting bone

Body, body, corporeal

Imagination until lost in the astral

 

 “Ungendered Body”  is a multimedia performance with video installation and live performance regarding social constructs of gender and an attempt to reverse the process of such constructs rendering the body into a state of ‘ungenderness’.

‘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, Jonas 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.

Second, in this visual, physical, sensorial and artistic language I attempt to reclaim a voice and space in a white supremacist patriarchal world with the physicality of my body, so I undress my clothes and sit in this space nude, vulnerable, attempting to strip off all the protective masks I carry every day. Third, by creating personal rituals in which a healing ceremony unfolds, this language crystallizes even further I want to talk to you about voodoo.

I would hear about voodoo from my parents – they are both mixed from two cultures (my mother Portugal and Cabo Verde and my father Senegal and Guinea Bissau), and how in their culture people would visit doctors practicing witchcraft in order to fix social, psychological, metaphysical problems, I don’t know – like getting a husband that was already married, attract fortune, kill somebody, scary stuff), but I have been always fascinated with but deeply scared of it because I did not comprehend it. As I grew up, I found that there is good and bad voodoo in different cultural religions such as Santeria practiced in Cuba, Haiti, Mexico and other countries of the south pole, Macumba, Candomblé from Brazil, Umbanda from Angola, etc, these all originated from African, Yoruba mythology and had influences from Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, etc., and in them you could find good voodoo which would focus on but not only, in healing maladies and ground the spirit, communicate with deities and nature. I have only started my study, but I have seen in these religious cults and practices many possibilities.

This contact with nature elements for instance through music, dance, prayer, aliment, singing and ritualistic ceremonies have inspired me to attempt at initiating a process that would result into finding a nature-body state. Furthermore, I got inspired by the smudging rituals carried in both India and west and central Africa for body and spirit cleanse with sage, and because I did not wish to appropriate these rituals entirely without comprehending at a deeper level what they entail and mean and also because I could not consult shamans, I have decided to re-create them into a ritual of my own while using turmeric as the main material. I have been using turmeric for flue and viruses and I was always astonished to how fast my body heals whenever I consume it fresh then I started using it for my skin as well. I have googled its healing properties and found out about specially its effectiveness towards eliminating bacteria and toxins so then I thought turmeric could be a device and also a metaphor for this physical and spiritual cleanse I have been searching for. Additionally, I was also absolutely in love with the burned yellow/orange tones that emanates from the root, so the physical live performance aesthetic elements of this project rely on the recurrent yellow and earth tones throughout all the devises.

Although ‘Ungendered Body’ is more focused on the black gendered identity traumas than of the further intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, class, etc, this project is a pilot project for inspecting identity formation and performativity. This is a visual expression of the frustrations I entailed in the past for being a black queer woman.

 

Performed at : CUTIE B.POC FESTIVAL, DISTORTION Ø FESTIVAL, and TALK TOWN FESTIVAL in Copenhagen 2017

UGE SEX UNG AALBORG FESTIVAL at KUL Nordkraft, Aalborg, 2018

Ungendered Body Live Performance

Ungendered Body traveled all the way to Copenhagen, to Distortion Ø Festival and it was a transformative experience! Here are some highlights!

Ungendered Body is 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 gendered behaviour 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.

The intention is simply to offer an opportunity to release the trauma of being socially and culturally gendered in the sense that we wish to explore gendered self-oppression – commenting on the restraints of gender constructs, and, to attempt to initiate a process of self-healing with shamanic healing practice (with imagery) and liberation reversing processes of gender performativity; moreover we wish to initiate a visual conversation about gender constructs and make us all reflect upon the diverse metaphorical ways and symbols of self-oppression attributed to gender performativity.

Throw Back Gum Bodies

Follow two bodies around in the city in their mutual CONNECTION. and experience a relation formed, developed and ended. This is the first series of Pre-Events for ENDINGS. Festival in Aalborg 2016

Performers:

Patricia Lam Toro (PT) & Kamilla Mez (DK)