Photo: Elektra Stampolou
Building on the often perceived as naïve and benign figure of the mermaid, in my current a practice-as-research project I investigate mermadeness; a trans-species consciousness. I produce different forms of presenting this embodied consciousness using performance as story-telling, movement practice and visual mapping.
I use the term ‘made’ instead of ‘maid’ and ‘mer’ which means ‘part of something’ in Greek, to signify a process of ‘becoming with’ as coined by Donna Haraway. While my performances are based on my own cis-gender identification as a woman, I perform a queer body in terms of species identification between human and non-human that results also in different forms of sensuous materialities. These are part of my research together with daily rituals of interpellation of non-human beings.
Residency Project 2022
This residency themed ‘PICTURING DEMOCRACY’ funded by Stiftung Berliner Leben, explored the dance floor and city as a place of freedom of movement in the context of democracy. The dance floor was considered both a physical space and a metaphorical space that included the studio and the formerly physically divided city of Berlin. In numerous micro performances I addressed formal borders between states and informal forms of movement restrictions such as gender, sexual orientation and taboo professions such as sex work.
STRATEGIES OF RESISTANCE IN POST-FORDISM
Over-identification with Benign Evil
Practice-based PhD project (2015 - 2021)
The central concern of my practice-based research project was how to create resistance from a feminist perspective by exploring and developing strategies in performance art. This resistance was aimed at the current economic and political conditions of post-Fordist production, in which an increased precarity of the workforce is accompanied by a shrinking autonomous political sphere and regressive gender politics, led by ‘sexual decoys’ (Eisenstein, 2007). In my practice, I performed and recorded political speeches which I circulated online; I also held live talks and presentations where I introduced utopian performance improving technologies that replace the physical female body with a virtual one. Central to my investigation was the exploration of over-identification where the performer overtly affirms the position of the subject of critique instead of articulating an open direct critique. Through my practice I explored how to deploy and transform this strategy effectively from a feminist perspective, to create an agonistic space as the location for resistance and disrupt rather than harmonise contradictions within post-Fordism.
formal Online Museum
DENISEUM was created during the first lockdown in spring 2020 when all art and culture institutions were closed; recorded in my living room with Green Screen technique, it owes its visual identity to a design for a Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki, which was never implemented after a dispute over funding between the Guggenheim Foundation and the City of Helsinki. In addition to its virtual dimension, DENISEUM reached its visitors with printed toilet paper invitations by post.
From 2020 - 2022 the DENISEUM had its own website but due to funding cuts for (public) institutions world wide the website had to close its doors. The online tours are still available.