3rd conversation

present: Carol, Kathleen, Marie, Natalie

At Kathleen’s studio in Neukölln, Berlin. Tea and biscuits. Cables, photography and video equipment everywhere.

We talk about difficulties encountered while picking pictures as material:
— Who shot the photo? was it a man? who chose to publish this photo as well? was it a man? why this angle? did a male photographer or editor choose it? A photo is not a fact it’s a composition, it’s made up. It’s nt free from a perspective. The question was “How to catch the eye?”.

— Who is looking at whom?

— By looking at pictures of people we identify as womxn, not knowing how they identify themselves… are we changing how we think about womxn’s bodies?

Sharing the pictures we researched and picked.

— I want to describe a picture I picked. Close your eyes. It’s a black and white picture, it’s the picture of a street. You’re looking towards the pavement, the photographer is standing on the road. The road is empty. Only one car, parked. At the back there are people standing, looking towards the photographer. In the middle of the picture, there’s a womxn, she’s looking to the right and her back is slightly bent forward, she’s wearing a big white jumper and trousers. You can see her right hand, holding a cobblestone. She has short hair. She’s pulling her tongue out towards something or someone you can’t see.

Showing the picture.

— I imagined she was throwing the stone.

— I forgot to say she was white. Funny. Although I’m not white myself.

Other pictures.

A picture of Natalie Keyssar, taken during the Ferguson’s protests. Black children dance to music playing from a truck with the words “no shoot, no loot” written on it and parked in a lot on West Florissant Ave. during a protest on Aug. 19, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.

A black and white picture of a Mothers of the Plazza de Mayo’s protest. They’re walking in circles around the May Pyramid. Nora Cortiñas (one of the founding members of the movement): “There is something wrong. Our children are missing. (…) I was a very normal person.”

Portraits taken by Yagazie Emezi. — The project is called “Liberian Body Image”. https://www.yagazieemezi.com/body#0 She’s from Nigeria she moved to Liberia. She asks people what’s their relation to their bodies.

About the history of dance:

— This history makes me crazy. It’s written on our bodies, the male gaze. Dance was “the expression of the joy to move.” In a matriarchal structure there were rituals and dance was jsut part of life. Then the moment of patriarchy came and there was a division, dance became part of the hierarchy and representation of power. These dualities appeared. Nature/technique, real/not real. The mystique, the erotic, the intuition, the ritual: all this was pushed out of society. Womxn had a supporting part, dance would show the beauty of the State. Dance would show too much joy, it was dangerous. Womxn were now objects of desire, something men can look at and enjoy. How much does it still exist? That people desire to move is being pushed out of society. It’s too much an expression of life. Where are we today?

— Were there ever matriarchal societies where we are now? I heard it’s debated because there’s a lack of archeological evidence.

A note on ballet:

— It’s the representation of an ideal: self-controlled, weightless, erotic, but not too much.

About an experience of doing dramaturgy:

— I remember having to say to a dancer that her quality of movement came across as very erotic, and it was not the focus of the piece. Who was I doing dramaturgy for, though?

— I want to make better choices when I dance. Try not to reproduce something I don’t want to.

Conclusion before we start the residency:

— I need to see womxn throwing cobblestones.
— What’s the difference between a collection and an archive?
— It feels like sucking the images.
— I don’t know where to start.


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