The residency week – Day 1

present: Natalie, Carol, Kathleen, Marie

A dance studio in Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany. We have the keys for a week, we can leave our stuff here. Bring food and drinks, there’s a kitchen. There are two rooms, one big and bright, overlooking the street. One smaller one, overlooking the courtyard.
— Hey.
— Hallo!
— Na?

Watching the documentary She’s beautiful when she’s angry, by Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy, 2014. About Women’s liberation movement of the sixties and early seventies.

Quotes from the film (CW: sexism , rape)
Women and typewriters are not inseparable.
about 68: We were used to lick envelopes. We did the real work of organisation.
“It’s not just me feeling insecure.”
when a female spokesperson comes on stage to speak at a leftist political rally: “Take her down and fuck her!”
as she got married and had a child: “My communication with the world was, I felt, finished.”

The women’s liberation banner hanging from a balcony at the Miss America ceremony. “We don’t like being so sensitive.” “Oh I’m so turned on.”

“Marriage is unpaid labour.”

A list of books:
Sex politics, Kate Millett
Shameless Hussy, Alta
For coloured girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuff
, Ntozake Shange
Poor Black woman, Mount Vernon Group
What the Black woman thinks about the liberation movement, Toni Morrison
Our bodies our selves, The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective
Poor white woman, Roxanne Dunbar

One protest sign: Asian women unite / our bodies / our lives.

“Rape is a political crime against women.”

The Jane collective: a network of women who learned how to practice abortion.

Now sitting and having lunch, chatting.

— I remember that I used to play football in high school. I had the boys’ admiration for that, because I was doing football. But this would turn me into the hot girl again. Either way you are the object!
— I know I learned how to mimic a man’s walk. You know the one where you move from side to side. To feel more powerful.
— In general, you don’t really ask yourself what you want, you try to avoid something. It’s an avoidance freedom.
— I was always uncomfortable with this “mother femininity”.
— When talking about walking on the street… who gives way on the street? I’ve done the experience, men really do not give way. They expect you will. At the last minute they move, if you don’t.
Another embodied archive.

— If we create a feminist archive, we cristallise something again.
— Starting from the personal maybe we can avoid imposing something.

— I needed time to think: it’s ok not sucking my belly in public. It’s ok to show this image of me. I need more images for my body archive to change my perception.

The way you perceive yourself changes everything you do.

— In the dance group, there was a sort of reverse thing. If we did not want to lift men, to be strong, then we were “Sissy”.

— An archive is also a memory. I have this feeling that what we want to do is turning things inside out: showing the work of going into our memory, choosing, questioning, showing, digesting… what made or makes us.
I wonder really how do we get out of this “chest of drawer” image of what an archive is like?

— I see also the relation we have to different body parts. I don’t want my feet to leave a trace, I’m ashamed of them.
— How can we find a methodology of reapparition of one’s own body, to gain independency from the male gaze? I think it’s a lot to do with territory, independence. It’s parallel to a sort of nationalism of our own body.

We started watching interviews of women and observe their body language, their posture.

Nina Simone’s interview on BBC, 1999.
Clarice Lispector on Panorama, 1977.

There’s a stillness in both of them, that makes them come across as powerful. And the way they speak, so poised. Nina Simone alway seems on the brink of singing.

We plan to meet for a show again later in the evening.

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