Curated by Lucía García Martín

Bodies Reclaimed presents works that draw from personal experiences to unpack unique points of view around the vulnerable body and to present trauma as a strategy for creativity. These proposals investigate the relationship between the self and the other and reaffirm the production of subjectivity as a solution to the existential anguish produced by the search for a unique self, inscribed by the current sociocultural context. Facing the gender struggle on their own skins and exploring the broken connections with their inner selves, the selected artists fight against trans invisibility and the male/female binary and denounce sexual assault. These works therefore are weapons for collective resistance and present ways to reconnect with ourselves through intimacy. Used to illustrate much larger and harmful issues with capitalism, they narrate the conflict between losing and regaining ownership of our bodies and surviving the loss of identity in the age of social media.

Virginie Follope, Male Gaze (2020)

“Me Too is a movement, not a moment” – Tarana Burque.

In France, on November 3, 2019, Adèle Haenel spread the Me Too movement initiated by Tarana Burke in 2006, speaking publicly on mediapart to denounce the assaults of which she was a victim as a minor under 15 years old. My video, which is part of this movement carried above all by survivors, testifies to “a culture of rape à la française”, according to the title of the book by Valérie Rey-Robert present in the image. On February 28, 2020, I joined the demonstrators near the Salle Pleyel, the day of the Caesar ceremony where Polanski was distinguished for his accomplishments, despite multiple accusations of rape. Then, on the evening of March 7, I took part in the demonstrations, which were in turn violently repressed by the police. Finally on July 10, I found myself in Place de l’Hotel de Ville, following the appointment of Darmanin (Prime Minister) and Dupont-Moretti (Minister of Justice). The sounds that you will hear in this video were recorded during these three dates. And, whenever a book makes an appearance it is because I see it as an intellectual stone capable of making the gaze bleed; it’s a weapon for collective resistance.

Brenda I. Steinecke Soto & Kirstin Burckhardt, VOICES (2018-2019)

“What is Body Ownership to you? Do you have, make and/or are you a body?” We asked three interview partners: Jorge Giraldo, a former sergeant in the Colombian conflict and filmmaker, Lilith Border, a trans* activist and folklore dancer in Medellín, and Gwen Schulz in Hamburg, an anti-stigma educator and mental health worker drawing from her own experiences in psychiatric institutions. We edited their answers to the video VOICES. The work is a polyphonic narration on losing and regaining ownership over bodies. Their words give shape to the relationships between societal gaze and body configuration. While listening to their voices, Jorge, Lilith and Gwen stand silently in front of the camera, open to meet the gaze of the viewer.

Nerea Gil “La Sedienta”, My little garden (2020)

“From the need to (re)connect with ourselves and the reality that surrounds us, between a game of ‘lights’ and shadows is born My little garden.”

A short audiovisual piece that shows how we cultivate our safe space in intimacy, as a result of the loss of identity we suffer for gradually exposing ourselves to a constant stream of stimuli, in a society where the boundary between tangible and virtual reality is increasingly blurred. In this capitalist world of social media and bigdata, we undertake our own inner path to seek and reconnect with what makes us feel and be, the best version of ourselves. Through dance, motion design and 3D animation, the identity of the dancers in this work is masked to connect with what they feel and to become able to transmit to the viewer a story: the story of the internal struggle to build, remember or fight for who we are, who we love and why we live. This piece designed exclusively in vertical format for smartphones, introduces the user in an experience that breaks in with an uncomfortable aesthetic near the sinister, where the dancers emerge from the darkness, generating that point of tension to the viewer that contrasts sharply with moments of light, virtual nature and fantasy. These dualities mark us the ‘quid’ of the piece: light-dark, nature and nothingness, or My little garden: “that polar struggle to keep our inner truth alive.”

Κesha Lagniappe, Come Wash With Me (2020)

Come Wash With Me is an interactive performance piece that explores displacement, survival and vulnerability through the laundromat and loss of access to one. The loss of access to a laundromat means being forced to hand-wash clothes, which is used to illustrate the ills of capitalism and gentrification. The concept is made to be interactive and was conceived after a personal experience with gentrification. What happened to the Little Rock community in Arkansas happens to a lot of people who are displaced due to gentrification, both directly and indirectly. This is apparent in many cities across the US, where the closure of laundromats equates to gentrification and displacement.

rick h m, The Girl Box (2020)

The Girl Box is an evening-length, contemporary dance work choreographed and performed by rick h m (they/them). Inspired by experiences of indicating their gender on administrative documents, or selecting gender options through online drop-down menus, the artist physicalizes the experience of trans invisibilisation and dissonance whence called to identify. Through movement, spoken word, and lip-sync performance, rick considers the embodied (im)possibilities of “boxing-in” one’s identity: what liberatory somatic frameworks might become possible through a commitment towards monolithic identity? Working beyond the male/female binary, rick interacts with three boxes (two large cardboard boxes, one wooden platform on wheels) to augment/segment their moving body, positing modifying one’s body with materials as a destabilization of gender legibility. The choreography is set to sound design of two microphones amplifying and distorting the sounds of the dancer coming up against their materials. Folding in themes of identificatory construction in the age of social media, the artist nods towards Britney Spears – the pinnacle example of a girl whose identity has been “boxed in” – in the beginning and ending of their performance. The latter incorporation of Spears’s work finds the artist lip-syncing to a remix of her 2001 hit, “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”, as a grand finale to the piece, revealing information about the artist’s current predicament in facing their gender struggle.