Friday, July 18, 2008

Performance Installacion 'Gol' y 'Cut Piece / Corte'

In Yoko Ono's Cut Piece she sat on a stage, handed scissors to an audience member, and invited them to cut her clothes off of her. It was during the Vietnam War, and the behavior of the cutters took on many different meanings. In my Cut Piece I also invited audience members to cut my clothes off of me, but rather than sit silently, I read from a scroll of newsclips, testimonies, and studies about sexual violence against girls in Latin America. On different occasions people cut with anger, sadness, tenderness, and great anxiety.
During my time in Nicaragua I did performance-therapy workshops with groups of women and girls, many of whom had been raped by male relatives or family friends. In general they are filled with shame, when of course it's the offenders who should be ashamed. In these workshops with survivors I wore black, and invited them to cut my dress as an affirmation, or a rejection of shame, symbolically cutting a piece out of their experience and claiming power over it. It was very moving. In most cases they did not say anything during the performance, but afterwards we had small discussions with counselors.

I did a special performance for a group art show in Nicaragua protesting President Ortega's nakedly political prohibition of ALL abortion, including cases of rape, incest, or serious threat to the pregnant girl/woman's life. For that show I read clips about the deaths and emotional torment resulting from the law, wearing a long white dress with a basketball lashed to my belly. The photo showing several men cutting is a multiple-exposure from a performance in Tijuana, an extremely violent city and portal of sex-trafficking of Mexican girls into the United States.

With each iteration I appreciate more Yoko Ono's genius in creating such a potent action/performance, capable of receiving so many projections of human emotion.

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