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“Having seen them lead an existence doomed to crime, I abhor and flee this sex inclined by its nature to vice. I reject the laws of marriage and for a long time I have had no companion sharing my bed.”

Here, the first lines of the fable of Pygmalion and his statue, written by the Latin poet Ovid (1st century AD) in Book X of the Metamorphoses. In addition to the translation, a detail separates it from the original text: I put it in the first person. By reading it aloud, this minimal operation brought out all the misogynistic violence of this famous fable between my lips. It was September 2018, I was preparing a performative reading of this story for the (Re)lectures program of La Péniche Pop (Paris). In Brazil, where I come from, the presidential election campaign was full steam ahead, Lula was still incarcerated, Jair Bolsonaro was rising in the polls every day. Ovid's text literally fell on me and almost crushed me. Crossed by the political context in Brazil and Bolsonaro's hate speeches towards all bodies other than those who look like him (i.e. cisgender, heterosexual and economically privileged white men), the creation of the performance Me too, Galatea was a daily struggle against this fable that struck me not as “the myth of the artist's love for his work”, but as the founding myth of rape culture and of the patriarchal domination over assigned feminine bodies.

I mention this story here because NOS(OTRAS) was born from the desire to see this performance Me Too, Galatea - created a few hours before Bolsonaro's election to power (October 28, 2018), - embodied, appropriated, questioned, devoured by other gender-dissident bodies. Existences of which the contemporary Pygmalions could say that "they abhor and that they flee these genders inclined by their nature to vice". The performance found a lot of echoes since its premiere, which is why I decided to continue to share it with audiences outside of its creative framework at La Péniche Pop. I continue to be struck by the powerful and overwhelming feedbacks I receive after each performance, testimonies around what a body can do in a state of representation, on how multiple alterities can emerge from one same body, on how much fragility and force can coexist without contradiction. In the story of Pygmalion, we are dealing with explicit questions of misogyny. However, the discrimination suffered by gender-dissident people, in particular transgender folks, is the result of this same patriarchal violence. It seemed relevant to me to broaden my own reading of this myth through the lenses and experiences of other people often considered as “others” by society.

NOS(OTRAS) is not the desire to reproduce Me Too, Galatea with six different bodies, as we have seen in projects for the demultiplication of a solo such as Good Boy / Mauvais Genre by Alain Buffard. My desire is to offer my performance to be devoured by six performers, in a cannibalistic approach and in the image of the performance itself, in which I dress up with a basket of fruits and vegetables as if offering my body to be devoured by the spectators.

By this anthropophagic act I mean that NOS(OTRAS) will have a creation process of its own. We will start from the performative materials that constitute Me Too, Galatea towards an open and unknown destination. These materials include, for example, the pictorial representations in art history of the myth of Pygmalion, the challenge of creating before the audience a prosthetic body made of edible accessories, the search for a choreographic writing departing from a plastic metamorphic body juggling between postures of Galatea (from the analyzed paintings) and postures of bodies in struggle/in demonstrations (from images/memories to be collected by everyone), as well as obviously Ovid’s original text. NOS(OTRAS) will be a durational performance made by a group of six gender-dissident performers. Durational because I wish to create solos with these six performers which can be linked together, so as to occupy a day in a museum or alternative space. The dramaturgical structure of successive solos does not, however, exclude the possibility of collective moments in-between the focus on each one.

The creative process will be accompanied by the transmission of working tools around the body in metamorphosis on which I have been working for several years, as well as by provocations and reflections by the philosopher and text worker Emma Bigé. The project also includes the accompaniment of a person in scenography and costumes, who will be responsible for imagining common principles for the manufacture of these edible prosthetic bodies as well as a scenographic context that can accommodate the multiplicity of the six soli.

Artistic direction: Pol Pi

Provocations: Emma Bigé

Scenography and plastic elements: to be defined

Creation and performance: the six performers will be chosen by audition

Production : NO DRAMA

Executive production : Latitudes Prod-Lille / Louis Eonnet

Administration : Adèle Devos

Communication : Louise Marion – Astrid Herbron

© Marc Domage


NOS(OTRAS) is a proposal for a transfeminist alliance: an opportunity to bring together, around gender dissidence, the refusal of a binary organization of the world and the imagination. Instead, NOS(OTRAS) (we=others, we who are others to each other) goes in search of multiplicities, monsters, not-well-ordered, atravesados, all those who exceed the categories of modern/colonial humanism, on the trail of the futures and imaginaries that these multiplicities promise.

If the substantive political perspective of NOS(OTRAS) is that of the struggle against racial/patriarchal capitalism, the question is inseparably: how to contribute to abolishing its aesthetics? That is to say, how can we put an end to the images of the beautiful, the true, the just, the sensitivity, the works of art and the artists that it conveys? Paul B. Preciado remarks in Dysphoria Mundi that from the point of view of petro-sexo-colonial aesthetics, an abandoned gas station will always appear more beautiful than the Taj Mahal: the fascination for the expenditure of fossil energy, the melancholy for the time of the great "conquests" of the West, fascinate and excite the senses. The fictions that go viral in cinemas and computers around the world tell stories of powerful petromacho heroes who eradicate their enemies, celebrating an ever more muscular technopatriarchy, even in the face of its debacle. Could we unlearn this aesthetic? Learn to say something else in its place?

Fortunately, throughout the history of modernity/coloniality, there are a number of attempts to develop gestures, perceptions, lexicons, know-hows and feel-hows that stand outside this aesthetic of capitalist predation. The proposal? Take the time to read them. Take the time to clear our eyes and ears and to make ourselves attentive to what exceeds that which patriarkkapitalism knows how to say about us.

One study site in particular will be provided by Ovid's Metamorphoses. Ovid's book speaks of changes, mutations, aberrant and monstrous movements, which move from one gender or one species to another. Often, Ovid takes the metamorphosis as a witness to the fact that change, movement, mutation, should precisely be avoided or in any case suppressed. What happens when you embrace mutation, rather than trying to contain it? We will go in search of antidotes to the limited vision that Ovid offers of metamorphoses, in search of powerful figures of transition.

©Maria Máximo

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