For years and years of our existence, we have the privilege of one encounter. Every month, we are shown from the inside out. This incarnated immersion and reunion is possible by a slow and continuous process of peeling off. As a change of skin, we process in our body an organic and spiritual self cleansing process. That’s where the biggest confrontation in a woman’s life happens; to recognize how big her strength is, the flows that run and overrun her body, that aborts, is fertile and impregnates. Receptacles of ourselves and the world, the period blood is a mirror that reveals us unpeeled, fleshless, boneless as pure incarnated flow.
Flow of life that runs into our depths and guts, our inside showing we’re still ancestrally linked to our natural cycles, to the rites and to the passages and that we weave our bonds with ancestrality. This deflowering of ourselves that we carry patiently and bravely is also the germinative strength of life and the opening to becoming others…
These bodies build their freedom: a (feminist) interpretation to Ferida Sábia
For centuries, women have remained condemned to their biological destiny. Repeated androcentric values – many times openly misogynous – crystallised a “difference” where the feminine, always in the condition of the opposite side, inferior and peripheric, remained determined by deviations inscripted in its bodily surface. How could this supposed weakness not lead to dependency? How could this proheminent sensitivity not lead to unreasoning, even madness? How could reproduction, as inevitable destiny, not entice confinement disguised as care?
This is how the idea was built, bringing women closer to nature – wild, puzzling and dangerous – determined as men’s duty the exertion of domination: in a supposed “war of sexes”, men had the civilizatory task to handle.
To tame women, to control them, keep them under firm rein: this is how the violence over female bodies that was (and still is) perpetrated countless times was validated; a violence both physical and symbolic. How could he not cover her, who – lustful and subject to an unstable nature – could attract the man to the shadow of her dark breast? Over the whore’s skin, the saint’s mantle was thrown, veiling her, supposedly to her own sake. Casted away from public space and from power, condemned to the undergrounds, an image was coined to woman as damned, femme fatale, avatar of every damnation. However, there is no power without resistance; and over the centuries, the silenced ones started to make themselves heard – with screams that would echo louder every day.
Because it’s necessary to take into account that the starting point here is the body – or, to say it in a more specific way: a corporal state, meshed into a net of significations where the multiple shapes set it up; that, in different cultures, it has been associated to the “feminine essence” as spontaneous manifestation of its proximity to the untamed “nature”; that on this basis served to the patriarchal order to assure the “impurity” of women, her damned condition as someone (or something) to keep distant based on their sinister and annoying aspects. Nightgowns, undergarments and underskirts operate as indexes of this conceived femininity based on the biological dimension, that insists in putting the blood eclosion as an evidence – a sign, for its part, androcentrically associated to violence, as a manifestation of a natural state where the borders between woman and beast is graded (“Ferida Sábia”: night gowns held by bull’s bones), or sees the woman as a mere manifestation of her natural cycle (“Ferida Sábia”: association nightgown ~ cherry trees ~ period blood).
On the other hand, what does Ana Vitoria dare to do when registering and exposing her period blood, but to denounce the biological instance to what women is reduced by essentialist speeches, simultaneously violating the rules that makes the period blood an object of shame – something to be hidden by principles that, using “hygiene” as a subterfuge, create a group of practices and artefacts destined to confine in private spaces everything that violates the aesthetics from masculine spaces? That’s where the set of items gathered by Ana Vitoria takes us – basins, second skins – shaping the place where everything that shelters, protects or symbolizes this body converges. A body damned, by the patriarchy, to never get dissociated from the biological referent to what it’s allegedly reduced.
This collection of objects, placed in the installation space, is an exterior reflex of a materialization of femininity that is also inscribed in the body, where it erupts as a repertory of gests mobilized by Ana Vitória in her choreographic structure. The prison where patriarchy shaped the feminine body is turned into a wreck when it conquers its own freedom. The sewing practice – that is so intrinsically associated to women and at other times served as initiatic rite to girls when they got their first period – reveals itself as another metaphor: in “Ferida Sábia”, the bodies in conviviality are dedicated precisely to unwind the threads that have entangled them before, thus alluding to the emancipatory feminist process; not by chance, this is the beginning of the coreography, which developement will mirror a progressive liberation. Stuck in the beginning to ritualized movements, the bodies break their shackles of tradition through dance; and conquer, simultaneously, the right to a voice – that, at first, is reduced to lines that were crystalized by centuries of oppression, and afterwards shows its singularity, precisely where the sexist dispositives have put only instances of an unchangeable “feminin” condition.
Therefore, this is what Ana Vitória makes: denounce those traditional structures that have built women’s bodies and destinies and reclaim a new order, patriarchy threatening, where women are allowed to build new meanings to their own bodies; a new order where these are places of experience, not oppression. All of this is Feminist for sure, and it all also points to a Transfeminism to the extend that it gives the basis to the body to materialize its own gender expression, in a way that women can freely build their feminility. “Ferida Sábia”: not a “feminine” art, but a feminist art – and thus audacious and liberating.
wound as experimentation
of a performatic visceral writing
What happens when what we see, even from a distance, seems to touch us, to establish a strong contact, when seeing is a way of touching, when seeing is contact at distance? What happens when what is seen imposes itself to your sight, as if the sight was apprehended, touched, put in contact with appearance? Maurice Blanchot, 1981.
AnaVitoria believes “in personal history and memory as unending tools and source to autorial projects” and this attitude is present from her first uncertain steps that start the performance, walking back and forth, unveiling paths and threads of individual and collective memory throughout generations. I believe that when she thought about flows and connections, Ana establishes what Irigaray (1991) called “fluid mechanics”, a way of thinking that loosens conceptual links focused on presence affirmation to indicate fluid changing processes, transformations and mutations. Before, the egg, the valises, the propellers, now the menstrual peeling as indexes of regeneration cycles. In all of them, a mutant body, an intertwining of languages and the approximation of taboo, as an uncertain transit between what’s forbidden and what’s sacred, as and maybe even more in the etymological sense, what marks intensely.
That’s how “Ferida Sábia”, saturated by red, initially produces a soaking effect, not only by bathing in blood, but by the overflow from the inside to the outside that leaves marks, its signs of genesis of life – and impregnates us. Just after that, breathing calmer, we start to see in-between the reds: details of flesh, cloth and objects, each one exuding a disturbing vivacity, as if the proximity to blood have contaminated them with its own strength. Red thread cocoons intertwined with personal objects that we can only discern incite us to decipher: flows, paths, nets that connect us to ancestral rituals, routes to collective imagination. In the bottom of a toilet, a small red drop flows silently, it explodes abruptly a little further and suggests a crime scene, at the same time it causes an impulse to flush away and eliminate the evidence. Or to dive in it and to get to know it, to recognize oneself.
As the trails and migrations of red suggest paths, its impregnations purpose an instinctive cognition of the event, further than contemplation. Trails and impregnations that are open to new incorporations of senses and to the production of allegories, at the same time as they un-singularize daily objects inferring a new value to them, now in the space of imaginations.
Figuration, as we get to see from the inside and a variety of angles, becomes an uncentered live map. She raises the question of wanderer subjectivity as collective endeavour, simultaneously exterior and transforming of our deep estructures, and shows a way of living/running through the spaces: allowing/performing connections. The repetitions of steps, precise gestures and her rituals of allusion and association establish a pact of sharing and propel us in multiple and risky directions, in idiosyncratic paths and twists around ideas from that moment on – extra-textual.
And finally, the double sensation question, the continuum of touching and being touched that has in the “flesh” the zone where this reversible phenomenon happens. De Certeau (1979) researched the idea of “flesh”, stating that a residual materiality lives in it, a suffering that stays prior and irreductible to inscription and textualization. Maybe we could say that the collective body of this “Wise Wound”, by leaning over itself, us and what it might become, establishes a fluid infection of intensities and events, infects us with a sensation of beauty that mustn’t be distinguished from pain or abjection. In the same way as Derrida (1993) has put blindness in the center of seeing, here it’s the peeling oneself that highlights the ‘flesh’ as trade zone, as ‘space-between’ in the performances. When touched, we decipher, walk, choose, recreate and, suddenly we see ourselves – participants.
Estréia nacional 2012
Concepção geral e direção – Ana Vitória
Assistência de coreografia
Desenho de Luz
Trilha sonora organizada
Ana Vitória Visagismo
Desenho de som
Assessoria de Imprensa
Iroco Produções Artísticas