August 2016, Performance Marathon at Ponderosa Movement & Discovery
Performance by Tereza Silon, recorded by Chani Bockwinkel
edited by T. Silon
click for videos (password for both videos is ‘hyperfemme trash drag’):
‘What else would she become had she forgotten the Name-of-The-Father but a sorceress.’ Tereza Silon, diary, July 2014
The sentence is both symbolic and autobiographical, literal, metaphorical and symbolic. A loss of a faith in masco-centric order and values (including the patriarchal world-order based on heterosexist and racist linear logics) are both a dark time of an ordeal and a light of the darkness, not the humid fertile darkness, but the darkness which got to be mistakenly called the ‘Enlightenment’.
In this piece, challenging beside the masco-centric logic also hierarchies and raises the topic of commons (‘our nervous systems are like myceliums of mushrooms’) and anthropocentrism (‘write a name of your mother, biological or spiritual, or a plant you feel a strong affiliation with’), I combine a performance consisting of movement, critical theory, a participatory ritual and a pre-recorded spoken word, proclaiming in the beginning this performance is something between a lecture, a lap dance and a ritual.
During the performance, I suspend an apple from my genitals, held by the strenght of my internal muscles, challenging the ‘mystery of the internal/invisible sex’ myth on one hand and the sexualization of women-read bodies and genitally focused eroticism on the other. Symbolically, I carry the names of the audience’s mothers and ‘spirit plants’ suspended between my legs until in the end I pour water over those names, performing a ‘feminine baptism’, cleansing them symbolically from the misreadings of the ‘feminine’, reclaiming the male priesthood in Catholic and other Christian churches, Abrahamic faith and other and denominations, bringing in the elemental symbol of water as well as water as a symbol standing for body fluids. The engagement of genitals as a part of the performance adds also the conversation about how predetermined we are (or not) by our biological sex, the discourse of reproductive health, as well as epigenetics and a bodily (womb’s) memory of a trauma.
This performance is both intimate, striving for a connection and a transformation and ironic, using a femme drag as a tool for bringing in the discourse of a performativity of gender and questioning the extent and circumstances under which something (this ritual) can have a power outside of its multi-faceted context. On this plane of ambiguity, new meanings emerge from vulnerability.