Die Biographie meines Körpers

(The Biography of my Body) 2004
Cultural Center Brotfabrik, Bonn, Germany

A theater-dance work with live music, which dealt with male/female conflicts: closeness, violence, distance, passion, rivalry, love.

For my performances I had total artistic freedom. The director and the company did not know what I was going to do. They trusted blindly in my ability. I used to stick to the subject of the work, which, by coincidence, was my personal topic. It was what I was living emotionally at that time: patriarchal violence.

Biografie meines Körpers (Biography of my body) is a series based on 6 Performances that deal with violence against women in many of its forms and in particular the aggressions that I have lived (and that many women have lived throughout existence). These perfromances make up a Biography of Aggression, recorded in my own body.

Dress of the daily life
Brotfabrik, Bonn, Germany, 2003
This Performance consisted of a paper dress from the giant diary that I had built and used. The dress covered the entrance to the Hall of the Brotfabrik Cultural Center, in such a way that the audience stepped on the dress. During the Performance I destroyed it.

Die Nadeln (The needles)
Brotfabrik, Bonn, Germany, 2003
A doctor put big needles in my head. Then I exposed myself in the Theater Hall inside a vertical wooden box. In front of me was a plaster-bust sculpture of a woman (a kind of Alter Ego), placed on a wooden pedestal. I looked at that figure for a long time. Then I took off my clothes. I stayed like this, wearing men's underpants, over which I had wrapped a barbed wire around my pubic bone and pelvis. The mind is divided during these brutal events.

Brotfabrik, Bonn, Germany, 2003
In this Performance an actor of the company wrapped up all my body up to the neck with plastic, only my head was left free. Then the actor hanged me from a string from my feet, so that my head was on the ground and I was helpless, at the mercy of any aggression.

Depot, Dormund, Germany, 2004
It consisted of a place covered with newspapers, at the center lay a larger cubicle, also covered. I ripped up the newspapers and went into the cubicle that had water. I got wet, I took off my blouse and with it I hit my back. He alluded to the Christian practice of self-flagellation and mortification - physical or mental sacrifice - in order to join the Passion of Christ. It is seen as a virtue.
The more a person suffers, the more holy he becomes. This belief is part of the collective unconscious and everyday life. It was an ideology very present in my education: to be a good woman, suffering, pure, obedient, submissive, etc. It is a repressive principle, which exacerbates the supremacy of men over women. Throughout history, the church has encouraged machismo and its power.

The shirts
Depot, Dortmund, Germany, 2004
I collected dozens of men's shirts. I made an installation with newspapers and on them I put the shirts in a sepcific order. Then I hit the shirts with a cloth dipped in black ink. I destroy everything by force of blows, wanting to rebel against the authoritarian systems that control us, that are within us as well.

Die Misshandlung (The mistreatment)
Depot, Dortmund, Germany, 2004
I let myself being mistreated, pushed, hit, dragged, groped by an actor of the company. Alluding to violent practices against women, which I personally had experienced in the flesh. A retraumatization.

Photo-Documentation: Christa Schwenz
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