EIGHT EQUALS D
(video, performance, video game, 2022)
I LOVE YOUR ASS!
I WANT SEX, I WILL PAY YOU.
Avoiding the violent behaviour of men became a part of my daily life since I was 12 years old, both on the street and on the internet. As social media have become a vital part of our current reality, so has the aggressive harassment of women online. Whilst street sexual harassment takes place mainly in public spaces, online sexual harassment penetrates from the public into the private, especially, due to easy access via our smartphones. The results of this is that the spaces of our homes, which serve as places to hide, to escape, to be vulnerable, are no longer safe anymore…
This makes the following questions arise:
How can we, women, safely exist in the age of the internet?
How can we reclaim our physical and digital spaces?
How can we reunite and show our resistance?
Whilst the severity of the violent situation is captured in the first part of the project, the video; The possibility to fight back and to show resistance can be accessed via a game that immerses the player in the role of a fighter against the harassers themselves. The game setting helps the survivors to restore justice, whilst to the remaining audience, it shows what is it like to be in the role of a victim who has to constantly keep evading or fighting back. The game is placed in a physical blanket fort, offering the viewers a temporary feeling of safety, however, as its story continues and loops without a possibility of ending, one must not else but think:
Is it really just a game?
Just imagine hating yourself so much you keep rejecting your own body. Your face. Your physicality. Disproportional. Distorted. Wrong. Defected….
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) – a psychological obsessive-compulsive disease that causes visual and emotional processing deficiencies and at the same time impairs neurocognitive functioning when the patients believe to be just unacceptably deformed.
In recent years this disorder has become even more common, especially amongst the Millenials and Generation Z, which is very much tied to the rise of over-edited bodies, beautifying filters, or artificial intelligence that rates and favors beauty on social media. Since the brain cannot easily determine what is real and what has been artificially altered, therefore, the unreal bodies and faces set the new norm. Social media, as a place tempting to constant comparison, makes people become more and desperate so they seek ways to come as close to this standard as possible. The standard that causes women to look more and more alike. The standard that is within a reach - quickly achieved by visiting a - more than ever -affordable beauty clinic. The standard that contributes to the rise of BDD. The standard, hungry for making even more money, screaming to the audience:
YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH!
would you helP me?
This performance is a commentary on the attention economy/history of the female nude in museums/social media culture pushing women to strip in order to be acknowledged.
While standing in a space I encourage people to remove clothes from my body. Two cameras attached to my feet (symbolizing imprisonment by media) are available to the audience to use to capture me at any moment. A screen projecting a variety of messages in a glitchy/strobe-like way with dramatic music and me repeating the messages on the projection are nudging the audience to take action:
I AM A WOMAN
TAKE A PHOTO OF ME
WHAT’S MY STATUS?
GET ME INTO A MUSEUM
The irony here is that the more I strip, the more attention I would receive, which is a way to gain instant gratification and short-term happiness. However, in the longer term, this harms one’s mental health and self-perception (moves towards objectivization).
This performance is designed to divide people, into the ones who would strip me down, and the ones who are against this and decide not to participate. The: "HELP ME!!!" on the screen underlies the whole situation. But - what is the right way to help?
The performance has three possible endings:
a) The participants strip me fully naked
b) I am freed off of the chains with cameras
c) Nobody participates, I have to remain in my "crying for help"
Throughout the years I have experienced and witnessed all kinds of love – the variety of genders, ages, relationship types, cultural backgrounds - with a common connection of meeting in The Hague. This phenomenon of the youth of the world coming to this city and unintentionally finding a lover so culturally different is merely fascinating. Why? Why fall for somebody who is so far from what we have known, so far from what we were thought, so far from where we come from?
The challenges and joys of such love inspired me to search for the small events that compiled – paint a bigger picture of being in an international relationship.
The way she writes her little songs in Italian, the way he cooks the dinner and says good night. The painful moments of misunderstandings. The joy of blending traditions. The fact that he came from Canada and she grew up in Rome. The stories they tell, the stories that connect them, and the stories they will never understand.
We fell in love in the city by the sea is a quest to explore otherness and difference. It’s overwhelming, frightening, and scary, but above all it’s magical.
These connections, which nations form via their individuals offer a brief ray of hope, a source of peace which the nations haven’t found for years. And as the countries face pressure living under the weight of pandemic, hatred, and fear We fell in love in the city by the sea is a journey that calls out, once more, for unity.
(video, mixed-media photography, 2020)
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Missing golden fields, deep forests, lakes, the solitary trees of my homeland. The Slavic soil I rose from. The places I felt truly myself. The places I always found my genius at. The places of peace and rest. The places where none of the worlds mattered. The places where one did not need to outperform or do any better. The places I secured the relationship between my body and nature.
"Uprising" is a journey of finding a bond with a new homeland in a place where nature ceases to exist. It is a search for a place that would allow a woman stripped from the soil of her birth to find her safe space. What, however, happens when a place like this cannot be found in the real world? This search results in a creation of a dream-like fantasy that offers a distant memory of what was before merged with what will one day arise - a digital body, a digital landscape, a digital motherland substitute.