Published 14 January 2020 in Press
Note from Dr Elena AGudio
With this short curatorial note, I engage with the concept of madness as ultrasanity, but also with some of fundamental threads and preoccupations of personal curatorial research. Namely, the possibility of challenging the presumed universality of the scientific discourse, of problematising and undoing its racist, patriarchal, Western-centred, and individualistic agenda and infrastructure. Of unravelling disruptive narratives on forms of care and of community engagement. In these days of writing, we find ourselves on the verge of celebrating the ten-year jubilee of SAVVY Contemporary. Ultrasanity, and its focus on community engagement and the collective agency as forms of healing beyond the pharmaticaulisation of care, affords us an opportunity and a lens through which to analyse 10 years of SAVVY Contemporary activity, both retrospectively and prospectively: Since its inception, SAVVY engaged with scientific thought, and with the possibility of challenging its deep vertical and horizontal Western roots. More recently, and profoundly entangled with the rhizome of scientific genealogies, we are tasking ourselves with confronting the ultrasanity of our very own infrastructure, engaging with critical reflections on the infrastructural oddities, and the challenges of a para-institution in constant becoming and generative, albeit often difficult, self-analysis.
If we understand curatorial practice as a form of troubling, a space fostering the insurgency of alternative epistemologies, it is maybe in unstable concepts such ‘madness’, ‘darkness’, or ‘witchcraft’ – all of which have been central in our unfoldings at SAVVY - that one can find some of the most heuristic spaces of disturbance.1 Troubling itself is a practice that I understand positively; madness, oddness, the trouble-some-ness of certain practices is something too often put aside as ‘other’, as negatively disruptive or and thus as disjointing of a smooth running and rational order of things. We want to invert this logic and propose a need, a desire, and a request for trouble-makers, odd-ones-out, and killjoys. Too much curating, too much institutional functioning, and political thinking backgrounds or even
1 See for example exhibitions: The Incantation of The Disquieting Muse (SAVVY Contemporary, 2016); Yet Incomputable. Indetermination in the Age of Hypervisibility and Algorithmic Control (Falckenberg Sammlung, Hamburg, 2017); Ivana Franke: Retreat Into Darkness. Towards A Phenomenology Of The Unknown (Schering Stiftung, Berlin, 2017); Ecologies of Darkness (SAVVY Contemporary, 2018); Ecologies of Darkness (SAVVY Contemporary, 2019).
neglects the questioning of the logics by which we operate, and instead focuses on getting more things done in larger and ever more efficient ways.2
Generating odd theories – as evoked by the invitation to a talk I gave at ODD Theory in Bucharest recently (2019) – is working at the interstices of different forms of knowledge that are somehow seen as quaint, strange, unfitting, or not part of the future. To think from these liminal spaces, is a possibility of getting rid of preconceived epistemological parameters within which we are embedded; I see it as a chance to unlearn them, to imagine new possible futures. As ways of interrupting the logics and unpoetics of ever more efficient production.
Madness is not a safe space, not a place to walk in for an elusive diversion. Madness burns. And it doesn’t burn, as the Amazon, only because of governments, of corruption, because of our insane societies and the violent actions of men since centuries. It burns also of its own fire, sometimes combusting everything in it and around it, crumbling any possibility of certainty and comprehension. But amidst smoke and flames, fire also produces light; and in the night it gives us the possibility of seeing through the thickness of the gloom.
As Antonin Artaud wrote in Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society, “modern life maintains its old atmosphere of debauchery, anarchy, disorder, delirium, derangement, chronic insanity, bourgeois inertia, psychic anomaly (for it is not man but the world which has become abnormal)” on the madness of its infrastructures and the performance of its continuous violent acts. “Thus it is that a tainted society invented psychiatry to defend itself against the investigations of certain superior lucidities whose faculties of divination troubled it.”
Madness can be form of ultrasanity, a space that lies beyond the dualistic categories of sanity and insanity. “That space explored and inhabited by those that have broken out, that have delivered themselves from the ordinariness, as well as the staleness and sogginess of
2 Hartmut Rosa, in his work Beschleunigung. Die Veränderung der Zeitstrukturen in der Moderne (2005, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp), has already pointed to the ambivalences of modern obsessions sped-up temporalities and processes, leading, often, to the precise opposite of what they aim for: confusion, a perception of a lack of time, stress, and loss.
the norms of society”, as Bonaventure Ndikung, artistic director of the project, puts it3. To compose a partiture of statements and a chorus of different voices, SAVVY Contemporary deliberates on different trajectories that criss-cross the boundaries and thresholds of the ultrasane. These include the construction of insanity and madness as an attempt to normalise those out of the norm; but they extend into questions of sanitation, segregation, and the entanglements between madness, colonialism and coloniality; madness as a tool of resistance, of escape, and refusal; and the power of intra-generational histories and community in formulating healing strategies.
With a satellite chapter at ifa Galerie that opens almost at the same time as our show at SAVVY, we also unfold narratives of subversiveness and resistance to normalisation, beholding microcosms of distress, and investigating the potential of healing strategies inscribed in the labour of relationality, intra-generational collaboration, and community support. Addressing the claustrophobic structures of discipline imposed on us by society and in particular by educational systems, the different works installed at SAVVY Contemporary and at ifa Gallerie deal with the possibility of challenging and dismantling contrivances of control and apparatus of confinement through the poiesis of collective engagement.
Philosopher and thinkers, activists and practitioners have been writing and pondering the violence of psychiatry, fighting for the dismantling of sites of contention and against the oppressive loops of normalisation and control. With this project, we want to address and challenge the infrastructures that made and continue to maintain this system of violence. Yet, we also want to engage with the heuristic lucidity of madness, cogitating the value that madness assumes across societies and cultures.
We owe to my colleague Bonaventure the neologism of Ultrasanity. But I owe to my late father, who was a very particular psychiatrist, or, as I affectively came to think of him, cosmonaut of the psyche, the very experience of it. From them both, I learned to understand curatorial practice as a form of troubling, a space fostering the insurgency of alternative epistemologies.
3 See Bonaventure Ndikung’s concept note for Ultrasanity, in this same handout
It is maybe in madness that one can find one of the most heuristic spaces of disturbance.
In September 2019, invited by the Association of Neuroesthetics to engage in a conversation with Ulf Aminde on the Socialist Patient Collective’s (SPK) statement to “Turn illness into a weapon”, sociologist Monica Greco suggested the possibility of thinking through the generative matter of 'outrageousness' and 'outrageous propositions'. Inspired by the work of physician and writer George Groddeck, who was constantly distancing himself from the ‘rigours of pure science’, and inviting his patients to regard their illness as a work of art - she embraced our proposal of ultrasanity (and the SPK call) as one of these outrageous “propositions whose lure is to offer a springboard for the imagination of different possible futures”. In the possibility of thinking ‘against the grain’, we might find ourselves in the penumbrae of liminal disciplinary locations, but we also strive to take care of the possible, reaching towards the improbable and the inconvenient to activate new possibilities.”4
It is exactly in this spirit that we are engaging with the potential and the heuristic force of madness, with its disruptive troubling forces.
In the first chapter of our year-long exploration of Ultrasanity, which took place in Venice on the Island of San Servolo during the Biennale and was titled S/HE SPOKE ‘I AND I’ FOR WE: ON THE POIESIS OF COLLECTIVE MENTAL HEALING, we first pondered the problem of the pharmaceuticalisation of care.
The island of San Servolo presented an odd space itself; a former psychiatric clinic and mental asylum in and yet outside the city of Venice; a total institution, an heterotopic place to make the other, the abominal, the anormal and the disobedient unseen, and neutralise
4 Monica Greco, “Thinking with Outrageous Propositions” in: Savransky, M.Wilkie, A. and Rosengarten, M. (eds), Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures, 2017, London and New York: Routledge. See also: Monica Greco, “On illness and value: biopolitics, psychosomatics, participating bodies” in Medical Humanities 2019 Jun; 45(2): 107–115. Published online 2019 Jun 7. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2018-011588 : “propositions (...) likely to sound distinctly unpopular, even outrageous, today—not, as one might imagine, because they are pseudoscientific, but because they spell out the misplaced concreteness of medical assumptions derived from scientific materialism. If I repropose them here it is not because I think they should be uncritically endorsed, but again as lures for thought and spurs for discussion.”
the generative potential of diversity.5 A place for the unwanted, the sick, mentally-ill and homeless being marginalized and constructed as other. In this meeting, that I curated together with my friend and psychiatrist Ana Gomez-Carillo, we departed from the observation that hegemonic therapeutics is primarily based in a Western ethnocentrism that disregards the healing possibilities of collective, mythic and historical narratives. We endeavoured to engage both discourse and praxis, disputing ideas of normality, expanding nosologies and questioning dimensions of a therapeutics grounded in scientific objectivity and ethics ignoring phenomenological and social dimensions, power agendas and collective meaning.
As Sylvia Wynter argues, re-elaborating Fanon's theorization of sociogeny, human being (and experience) is not merely biological, but also based in stories and symbolic meanings generated within culturally specific contexts.
Clinicians and practitioners - including Jaswant Guzder and Frederick W. Hickling - have engaged and sought alternatives to “the failure of white psychiatrists to ‘overstand’ the psychotherapeutic dynamics of black people”6, minorities and marginalized groups within Western societies.
These hegemonics have been transported to the non-West without an imagination and reformulation of cultural embedding. In this symposium in Venice, we questioned the gaps and deletions of mythic and social realms created across cultural realities. Collectively, we endeavoured to challenge the primacy given to the ‘rigours of pure science’ and Western Cartesian thinking, together with the innovations introduced by artists, practitioners and
5 Away from the main islands, excluded and yet within the surveilling gaze, the mental asylum of San Servolo was a place designed to alienate people from time and from the society, a total institution of othering. San Servolo for almost three centuries has been a place of reclusion and manicomial dispositive, a place that carries the history of the horror of segregation, internation and containment. From mid 19 th century the hospital island became the island of the excluded, those ones that society didn’t want to see. Among those “the idiots, those with mental pathologies, with dementia, children with brain pathologies, paralized, refused, intoxicated, lepers, those considered degenerate and so on”.
Today the island is a research center for social and cultural marginalisation, and host an archive of Franco and Franca Basaglia.
6 Hickling is here using the Rastafarian word ‘overstand’ instead of understand, meaning to have complete or intuitive comprehension, to understand fully. Rastafarian language often employs play on words as a form of subversion of the colonial language, as a symbol of separation from the Western ideology and as well as a continual remembrance of the struggle for emancipation. See: Hickling FW. "Popular Theatre as Psychotherapy". Interventions. International Journal of Post Colonial Studies Vol 6 (1), 2004, 45-56.
neuroscientists. We focused on scientific (mis-)conceptions of psychopathologies, methods of treatment and modes of public policy management, but also address the complex network of family, medicine, state and economy to explore the potential of healing through collective practices.
In neoliberal conditions, the responsibility of individuals to take on the burden of care has been transposed onto themselves. We therefore consider the importance of seeing “psychiatric conditions not as individualised and depoliticised as often represented”, and seek to understand “how wider structures of global capitalism, geopolitical narratives and neoliberalisation of the state have impacts on our understandings of self on an everyday basis”7. At the same time “the risk of medicalization of social problems and the limited way in which ‘‘community’’ has been conceptualized in global mental health discourses” were addressed. “Rather than being used as a method for increasing economic efficiency (i.e., reducing healthcare costs), ‘‘community’’ should be promoted as a means of harnessing collective strengths and resources to help promote mental well-being. This may be particularly beneficial for contexts (...) where community life has been disrupted by collective violence, and the resulting social isolation constitutes an important determinant of mental distress”8.
In particular, the event focused on the healing effort emerging from alternative work of large-group psychotherapy processes of ‘sociodrama’ and ‘psycho-historiography’ frameworks used in the deinstitutionalization of Jamaica through theatre and poiesis at Bellevue Mental Hospital in the mid-70s by psychiatrist Frederick W. Hickling, and in more recent child interventions in Jamaican schools. These latter efforts introduced poiesis and performance to address high rates of violence and risks for children in a post-slavery context. These frameworks mobilize the concept of group “reasoning” inspired by the Jamaican Rastafarian methodology of deep discussion through group process, which leads to the possibility of collective “overstanding”, a Rastafarian term denoting insight.
7 Sophie Hoyle. Inner Security: Anxiety from the Interpersonal to the Geopolitical, A video-essay made for 'Anxious To Secure: Inner Security', a panel discussion at Transmediale, HKW Berlin 2016.
8 Stefan Jansen et al., “The ‘‘treatment gap’’ in global mental health reconsidered: sociotherapy for collective trauma in Rwanda” in European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2015. # 2015
Invoking the affective agency of popular culture and theatre, Hickling contends that “central to deinstitutionalisation is the existence of a community capable of tolerating mentally-ill persons and providing a place for them in the society”.
Doing that we tried to deliberate on different trajectories through which psychopathologies - especially but not limited to the non-Western - could be understood. Beyond a romantisation of madness, with the collaboration and participation of patients, clinicians, artists, cognitive scientists, scholars and practitioners, we raised issues that question several grammars of violence, among them those inscribed in currently practised universal therapeutic models and the primacy of psychopharmacology which often deletes the significance of spiritual, systemic, intra-generational histories spiritual and community in formulating healing strategies. In addition, it interrogates and involves recent international experiments addressing relational and psychosocial dimensions, such as community-based collaborative care, and reparation through experiments with arts-based and collective processes of cultural therapy.
Along the same lines, we also addressed the invention of hysteria as a furor uterinus in the history of Western medicalisation. For hundreds years in Europe women showing symptoms “including anxiety, shortness of breath, fainting, nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, (paradoxically) sexually forward behaviour, and a "tendency to cause trouble for others"”9, were considered and diagnosed as hysterical.10 Nowadays hysteria is seen as a discredited medical diagnosis, recognized as a patriarchal strategy to group, pathologize and control a wide range of women’s distruptive behaviors.
As Sabine Arnaud explains in On Hysteria, hysteria as a medical category was invented in the eighteenth century and through the nineteenth-century a therapeutic practice to treat it was established. Initially catalogued as a predominantly aristocratic malady, hysteria was at
9 These list of symptomes are enumerated in the Wikipedia voice of Femal Hysteria. See also: Maines, Rachel P. (1999). The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria", the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 23.
10 Female hysteria was often attributed to sexual frustration, and literally to the inability to reduce stress via vaginal intercourse. This belief led to the hypothesis that physicians were recommending private clitoral stimulation at home, on their own, or offering their patients a genital massage. Even if contested, many think that the invention of the vibrator was a technology to treat the presumed “disease”.
the beginning attributed to both men and women, and it was only after the fall of the Ancien Régime that it began to be diagnosed across class boundaries, and to be limited to women.11
In 2003 the art historian Didi-Huberman, with his “The Invention of Hysteria. Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière”, showed how Charcot intently codified an iconography of hysteria, cataloguing a series of photographic depictions of the hysteric type: through the instigation of hysterical symptoms in his patients, Didi Huberman claims, sometimes even inciting rancour and resistance on their part through techniques such as hypnosis, electroshock therapy and genital manipulation, the patients of Salpetriere identified as hysterics were methodically photographed, providing the visual proof of hysteria's specific form.12 These images were collected in the renowned album Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere, a milestone in history of psychiatry. During the 20th century several studies postulated the decline of the myth of the hysterical woman amongst occidental patients, but at the same time interestingly assumed the escalating of this disorder in non-Western countries.
Feminist studies contributed to unveil the patriarchal prejudices inherent to the medicalisation of the hysterics, arguing that hysteria is as a matter of fact caused by women's oppressive social roles rather than by their bodies or psyches, and that this was a mere invention fruit of the misogyny of male physicians to persecute deviant women. As we can read in Hysteria beyond Freud: “For some writers, hysteria has been claimed as the first step on the road to feminism, a specifically feminine pathology that speaks to and against patriarchy. For others, the famous women hysterics of the nineteenth century have been taken to epitomize a universal female oppression.13
11 Sabine Arnaud. On Hysteria: The Invention of a Medical Category between 1670 and 1820. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015
12 Georges Didi-Huberman, Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière. Trans. Alisa Hartz. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003)
13 Hélène Cixous melodramatically inquires, "What woman is not Dora?". This ardent reclaiming of hysteria in the name of feminism is a new twist in the history of the disorder.” See: Gilman, Sander L., Helen King, Roy Porter, G. S. Rousseau, and Elaine Showalter Hysteria Beyond Freud. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1993 1993
Providing a non normative and fascinating reading of the history of hysteria14, in Please Select Your Gender: From the Invention of Hysteria to the Democratizing of Transgenderism analyst Patricia Gherovici complicates the binary perspective of this discourse, pondering and revising current notions of human sexuality to argue for a depathologization of transgenderism. In an effort to engage the broader dialogues of gender and sexuality, she draws inspiration from her clinical work with transgender patients in order to challenge “long-standing essentialist notions about sex and gender” and “to advance new ideas for the clinic that can be extrapolated to social and intellectual contexts”.15
In our research about healing and the possibilities of ultrasanity, we explored the depth and vastness of the sonic and performative rituals, focusing in particular on the Gnaoua cerimonies in North Africa. Evoking ancestral saints able to drive out evil, cure psychological troubles, or remedy scorpion stings, with these cerimonies (lilas) the Gnaoua people heal diseases not only by use of music and dance, but also by employment of colors, perfumes, and dense cultural imagery, often even by elicitation of fright.
One can think of other traditions where physical and mental healing, material and moral reconciliation are reached through the performativity of liturgies and of community practices. One example is Tarantism, the hysteric behaviour popularly associated with the bite of the wolf spider “Lycosa tarantula”. In southern Italy, it is believed that through the performance of the folk dance Tarantella, the sick and possessed are being healed.
These rituals of exorcism through dance were common across cultures and times. As philosopher, historian of religions and anthropologist Ernesto De Martino suggests, we could compare the phenomenon to others observed in Africa (the Sudanese bori and the Ethiopian-Egyptian zar), in Haiti (voodoo) and in Sardinia (argia).16
14 with a particular focus on Lacan's elaboration of Freud's ideas about hysteria in terms of his model of sexuation and focus on jouissance
15 see: https://www.patriciagherovici.com/
16 Ernesto De Martino, The Land of Remorse: A Study of Southern Italian Tarantism, translated by Dorothy L. Zinn. London: Free Association Books, 2005. As De Martino noted with the help of an interdisciplinary research team (an ethnomusicologist, a medical doctor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a cultural anthropologist), Tarantism should be considered in its historical and religious roots, and not simply reduced to a form of disease. His thesis is that the refusal of magic started in the Counter-Reformation period and
under the Neapolitan Enlightenment pulled this phenomenon to be transformed from a “choreutic-musical chromatic exorcism” to a kind of illness, described with typical medical formulations.
Historically, De Martino traces Tarantism back to pre-Christian orgiastic cults and Greek “maenadism”, which are functioning the same way as a socio-cultural response to maintain order among those affected by psychological crises. Maenads, which in ancient Greek translates as “the raving ones”, were the female followers of Dionysus, women who were able to enter a state of ecstatic frenzy through a combination of dancing and intoxication, and who of course were mythologized as the “mad women”.
The whole Ultrasanity project unfolded also as personal path, a way of disorientation and transformation, wherein I found myself confronted with the urgency of traversing thresholds, everything, personal and psychological, crumbling around myself, yet my very investigations becoming more and more fleshed out.
Along the whole route of these experiences and researches, many were the conversations that dispensed inspiration, lit up the way and offered fuel and fire to the investigations: those one with artists, friends, clinicians, and the ones that passed away. In particular, I owe to Pélagie Gbaguidi some of the most vibrant images and intuitions, for her ability to talk to those who were there before, for her highly imaginative force, for her decisiveness to subvert oppressive structures. She accompanied us on the island of San Servolo, her body as a metronome, filtering and refracting, diffracting, messages lingering in that space, a former total institution. She returned, to trace paths and build bridges before us in Lubumbashi, DRC, where last November we went to explore the history of the sanitary corridor and the colonial technologies of sanitation and segregation. Tying further threads that she wove in the time she spent there before us, we travelled to the quarry of Kipushi and Munua, where some women (even pregnant ones and with their children) break rocks and stones to make a living, working in a toxic and radioactive environment without any protection and safety. There we met Marie Therese Salumu, a comedian who is using all her resources and energies to create a possible infrastructure for these women, offering them help to structure their economic autonomy and to provide them with a network of support. Designing masks, objects, anti-pollution textiles, including glasses, canvases, and embroidery, Pélagie connected and resonated with this sensitive situations and local communities, supporting the possibility of a careful, decolonial ecology. In this context of overwhelming pollution – both environmental and metaphorical –, “where injuries in the body `and mobilization of
survival strategies are activated”, we followed again the echoes of Pélagie and unfolded in an ambivalent whirlwind that became itself ultrasane.
By Kelly Krugman, with Elena Agudio
We begin with Immy Mali and the imaginative powers and pains of childhood – a sonic tunnel leads us into the exhibition by way of polyglot stories, nursery rhymes and play songs from her youth, touched by trauma’s entanglements with the postcolonial landscape of Uganda. A cave where distant voices coming from inner spaces may disorient us, or take us by hand into the hyperlucidity of derangement. Through the work of Teresa Margolles, we encounter the shadow, the dark space of the gloom, here evoking the problem of systemic gender violence against women, in Bolivia and around the world. For the artist, the dark shade represents also a membrane of protection and intimacy, the same intimacy that Adjani Okpu-Egbe explores when inhabiting the cathartic space of his paintings, living art as a form of healing. John Akomfrah tells of jazz legend Buddy Bolden’s struggles with schizophrenia, hospitalization, and the violence of racist state powers to make disappear those in precarious positions. Lavar Munroe problematizes the notion of the spectacle with his painted portraits exploring family, non-white diseased bodies, human zoos, and mental and physical challenges as a means of entertainment. M’barek Bouhchichi explores the multiplicity of the self, giving shape to modes of expression that move from the individual discourse towards broader social, poetic and historic systems. Ulf Aminde presents his collaboration with the artist group Wilderers from the Foundation Diakonie Himmelsthür in Hildesheim, pondering creativity and cooperation questioning how group dynamics and identity arise. Yassine Balbzioui opens a door to eccentricity as an entry into a richer world, investigating madness as an absolute freedom of creation. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz delves into Puerto Rican writer and activist Elizam Escobar’s anti-diaries written during his time spent serving 19 years in US prisons for the crime of seditious conspiracy: evidencing his extreme and sometimes painful attention to mental and sensorial processes. Tracey Rose drifts together with various unclassifiable and marginal characters in a carnivalesque subversion prioritizing the freakish, the strange, and the alien. Alessandra Eramo’s sonic work on the freedom that resists in the female voice traces the wild, bestial, untrained, and vulnerable voice of inner agitation and ritual healing by means of the tarantula spider’s tale and its inscribed, mythic memory in her region of Southern Italy. Leo Asemota presents a sonic playlist along with archival materials and findings that contemplate microcosms of madness. Larisa Crunțeanu combines reality and fiction to address the emotions of women that have been historically disregarded or treated as somatic illnesses in light of social etiquette, public space, motherhood, labour, and justice. Jaswant Guzder, a therapist who uses drawing as a filter between her patients and herself, subverts the canonical trope of the “outsider” artist, her visual works being an extension of her therapeutic adventures in collective decolonization. Virginia Chihota lays bare tensions of personal experiences, plummeting us into depths to explore anxiety, turmoil, and the remedies within. Nathalie Mazeas presents the architectural spaces and homes of the homeless in Paris, confronting us with the capacity of resilience in crisis. Eva Kotatkova peers into the clothing of children to make visible their worn places, asking us to consider the language of memory left in their holes and tears. Lukas Hofmann investigates the idea of the skin as a permeable border, aiming to open and close wounds inflicted by the contemporary condition, causing both restlessness and relief.
Note from Pélagie Gbaguidi
About Udji Kinge Film
"We are now reaching the economy of wisdom where our actions have a direct impact on the lives of people who earn on average $1.00 and five a day. this film has a social claim. as an artist, I invite you to watch it with the full awareness that your action on consumer society, or your sharing empathy today, can improve the lives and well-being of vulnerable people. Since the film was made, the women who break stones; A., C., M. and S. have decided to no longer "work" in the quarry... With solidarity and micro-financing, they start a new job. The support will take as long as it takes for them to regain their autonomy of life, and for them to come out of survival."
PS ;Here it was during a conversation that I glimpsed the common thread of my research; "women who break stones". So I went there 30km from here to Kipushi and understood the metaphor of the tragedy of the 21st century; an indescribable place both of human desolation where all the ingredients of the madness of the world are condensed (colossal wealth of minerals, working conditions beyond comprehension, overexposure of the body to the toxicity of minerals.... place of predations of all kinds of multinationals to build innovative materials all over the world... finally the list is not exhaustive...)
Reaction / emotion / transformation / Action / Setting in motion a march in agreement with the target people to find ways to express "this thing".
Instead of the interventions I had planned, given the urgency of the situation, we can call this "collective awareness" Movement.
The Movement takes the form of a prototype with a path between a silent, sung demonstration. Is performance? It seems to me that it is a kind of hybrid reaction generated by a state of claims and collective sideration.
We will therefore propose to manufacture of anti-pollution masks made with local printed fabric such as loincloths. We hope that collective walks, including those with the wearing of these masks, can contribute to massive behavioural changes. This city is polluted by dust, among other things, and the consequences of mining operations in the surrounding area.