MisplacedWomen?

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Our Lady of Auguststraße

In Berlin, Homes, Photos, Signs, Stories on May 1, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020 Photo-Story from Berlin

Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić

Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić
Our Lady of Auguststraße: A Misplaced Women? May Day 2020, Photo-Story from Berlin by Tanja Ostojić

Documented and first published by Tanja Ostojić on the Misplaced Women? Blog, May 1, 2020

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Please visit as well archive of earlier contributions and posts from Berlin, from workshops, individual and group performances: 2009-2019:

Contribution by Nati Canto 

Contribution by Rhea Ramjohn

Contribution by Mad Kate

Mapping around Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz

Contribution by Katja Vaghi

Contribution by LADY GABY

Contribution by: Susan Merrick 

Contribution by Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

Contribution by Jiachen Xu and Evdoxia Stafylaraki

Contribution by Ola Kozioł

Contribution by Татьяна Bogacheva

Contribution by: Luciana Damiani 

Contribution by Tanja Ostojić: Berlin, TXL Airport

and Valentina Medda: Misplaced Women?, Performa New York, 2009. Simultanious delegated perfromance with the one by Tanja Ostojic, at Berlin TXL airport.

Misplaced Self in the Misplaced City

In Homes, Photos, Stories, Wuhan on April 5, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Tan Tan is performance and video artist of younger generation who went to visit her parents in Wuhan early this year and got accidentally under the total lockdown as of January 23, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Before she is going to be hopefully finally released after two-and-half-moths, on April 8, 2020, she gives us an inside into her Diary under Wuhan Lockdown, shares with us six of the predominant feelings she lived those days, and some of the daily photos from the window of her parents home. Panic. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness. Depression. Redemption.                                                                           

(Tanja Ostojić)

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Misplaced Self in the Misplaced City

By Tan Tan

April 2, 2020.

I am in Wuhan, central China, where I was born and raised. This was not a famous city for most of people around the world, as it is one of the second-tier Chinese cities (recently upgraded to ‘the new first-tire’), not like Beijing, Shanghai, which are of the traditional first-tier mage cities. But from the mid-January, Wuhan was globally exposed, accidentally, due to a newly discovered virus that invaded this city, and threatened millions of human lives with mind blowing speed. Right now, this virus, already known as Coronavirus (COVID-19), has become a crazy international pandemic. When I first heard the shocking news of the lockdown of Wuhan, I did not imagine that the whole world can be trapped today. Everyone is living a precarious life despite nationalities, identities, positions, and classes.

Until today, it is still not scientifically proven if Wuhan was the place of origin for the virus, yet due to the broadcasting of the international mass media, many people prefer to believe that. Thus, a ‘misplaced’ accusation has been brought to this city, turned it into a ‘place of the virus.’ As we know, every stereotype, prejudice, racial discrimination among human beings could last for centuries, so I don’t know for how long Wuhan needs to carry this ‘reputation’.

Since the beginning of the lockdown on January 23, every day before midnight, I posted a short diary on the ‘WeChat friends circle’ (a popular mobile-based social networking platform in China) with a photo. The composition is a framed view of each day from the same window at my home. In the picture, the building complex across the lake is Central South Hospital of Wuhan University, which is one of the most prestigious hospitals treating the Coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan. I decided to wrap this daily log on March 28, because from that day on, the people from outside have been permitted to enter Wuhan conditionally. After 66-day-long total lockdown, Wuhan finally has started to open its border gradually, and the lockdown will be totally withdrawn on April 8, according to official announcement. At this moment, I would like to share my personal experience during the hard times, by extracting six principal emotions out of my diary, as a potential reference to some of you who are still struggling with the quarantine.

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Panic. I guess everyone in the world had more or less the same panic when we realised that COVID-19 is much more contagious than SARS, MERS, or any other known infectious disease in human history, and worldwide experts have no idea of the cure for this disease. In other words, it seems that this disease could lead us to the end of the world. But in the first half month of the lockdown in Wuhan, the panic was even tougher, because before the disease spread rapidly to other cities, we were rather alone to face this unknown catastrophe. Approximately, shortly after January 21, my cellphone became a container of the hell, as every hour, some scary news or rumour popped up on its screen, including the hospitals begging for support, the doctors and nurses crying, and the increasing number of patients that had no way to be saved. From January 24 to 31, I spent the worst Chinese New Year I could remember, with panic rising day by day.

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Anxiety. Since the medical supplies such as masks and protective clothing were in a massive lack during the first month, anxiety was a prevailing and dominating mood shared by all the people in Wuhan. As an artist, I felt so useless when confronting this kind of crisis, which was an even worse feeling than panic. Fortunately, an exit from such negative state opened its door for me. From January 26 on, I joined a volunteer’s team Lumo Road Rescue Group to do some online work for donating the supplies to the hospitals. Lumo Road is the landmark of live-houses and hippy culture in Wuhan and this collective was mainly composed of rock fans, artists, musicians, university students, and other night life grassroots. I am one of them in a way. Surprisingly, these party-goers did a very serious and effective teamwork, connecting the donors and the ones in need, and have arranged for thousands of products per day to be sent to the hospitals, one-week-long. Perhaps our biggest advantage is that we are all the type of people that want to skip the bureaucratic (sometimes ridiculous) administration, and directly put the things in hands of those in need. Nevertheless, after one week, I found that my anxiety was not decreasing, but quite in contrary, it was growing. It is because I realised that even if I gave up sleep, I could not fill up the gap between the supply and the demand, as always more and more patients and hospitals cried out for help. Like many other voluntary communities, Lumo Road Rescue Group decided to cease our work after this busy week, because we could not solve this endless anxiety, and several members of the group got infected while delivering the supplies.

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Anger. Anger comes and goes in my diary. I think there are different reasons for being furious in every distinct nation under such epidemic situation. In China, especially in Wuhan, in the beginning, I was so angry about our political system that was always trying to cover the bad news, which caused about ten days delay in dealing with this virus. Li Wenliang, as one of the ‘whistleblowers’ to warn people of the suspicious virus, became internationally acclaimed as a Chinese hero oppressed by the ‘Big Brother,’ and killed by Coronavirus. After being a volunteer, I became even angrier day by day over many inefficient and inhuman measures from certain authorities, like the Chinese Committee of the Red Cross, which controlled the biggest storage of the supplies but was not competent for distributing them timely. This feeling was also provoked by various discrimination present among the people. Some of international media (outside China) insists on the stigma of ‘Wuhan Pneumonia’ although it has got the scientific name (COVID-19) already in January; there are some Westerners who like to shout at Chinese people (or even Asian looking people) on the street as ‘Coronavirus’; inside China, people from Wuhan and Hubei (the province of Wuhan) are discriminated by those from other areas; even in my own building, my neighbours didn’t allow a tenement to live here anymore when he came back in Wuhan from another city, for he might be a threat to bring the virus to this ‘zero infected building’…

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Sadness. Sadness never leaves. Besides Wuhan people, this mood is among people all over the world. Because we all know that in addition to the official data of death, there are much more ‘grey areas’ in the statistics. In Wuhan, except say that there are 2.567 casualties* on the list so far, but we don’t know how many people have left the world before the two new hospitals and the mobile cabin hospitals were built. What’s more, how many people were killed by other diseases in the situation of no access to ordinary treatment in the hospitals? How many people became homeless because of the sudden lockdown? How many people lost their jobs or are facing bankruptcy? Last but not least, how many pets have been abandoned and killed by vicious rumours and cold hearts?

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Depression. All the emotions listed above often drove me into a deep depression during those days. I guess many of you who are reading this text might feel the same. Because we are all vulnerable, useless, uninformed/over-informed, and under a quarantine with an unpredictable end. We are all isolated and ‘misplaced’ in an incredible situation. Personally, I have coincidentally stayed with my parents for more than two months under the same roof, without seeing anyone else. This is rather a big challenge than a happy family reunion to me, as the generational gaps in China are specially huge. My parents and I have opposite life styles, and opposite opinions on values, and politics most of the time. On the other hand, as an artist engaged in performance art and other edge-cutting art forms, I don’t want to shock my parents with my ‘crazy’ behaviours at their home. Thus, I was not able to do many of my artistic actions normally and had to disguise myself as their ‘good girl.’ In this sense, I have lost my integrity, my real world and space, and have been living with a ‘misplaced self.’

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Redemption. Hopefully, in parallel with all these negative emotions, there is also a force that supports each of us, that is, the rescue and self-rescue. Other than joining the volunteers to serve the hospitals, many people chose to implement immaterial redemption. Artistically, there are countless online exhibitions and live music performances; spiritually, there are various psychological assistance and religious group blessings. I myself have participated in two exhibitions and three publications linked with the epidemic situation. Moreover, I submitted an art project to an institution on the theme of animal protection, because this human crisis makes me feel more the call of rebalancing the energies of the earth, and even the entire universe. In ancient times, humans used to respect all plants and animals, and followed the steps of God and nature. Today, because of ‘capitalism,’ ‘overconsumption,’ and the ‘society of spectacle,’ we become more and more reckless to the natural principles. As an evident result, the world becomes as it was in Revelation of the Bible overnight. At this moment, not only Wuhan and China, this wild animal-derived virus has conquered the anthropocentrism terrain; meanwhile, locust plagues, mountain fires, hurricanes, and floods are also emerging one after another in every corner of the world. Therefore, I think it is time for us to go back to the sources of our world, then reshape the reciprocity between humans and animals and what humans are doing to the earth. This is more fundamental salvation than any vaccine. May it be written on the plan of the redemption from the Universe.

Eventually, after so many traumas, with the strong spirit and contribution by ordinary  Chinese people, and the zigzag endeavours from the position of power (governament), Wuhan has survived this war. There are many more issues that should be addressed in order to tell the whole story of this ‘misplaced’ city, but I could only write down a diary from a personal view. On the April 8, we will be hopefully finally ‘freed’ from the lockdown as announced, but the obstacles for true mobility must still stay, so when will my days of ‘misplaced self’ come to an end? When I look at the world and the universe, I feel as I am still a prisoner, as I don’t know where else I can go and how to board on Noah’s Ark…

At the end, I would like to make a quote from my diary, ‘This troubled world would no longer allow us to wait, we shall start the process of healing.’

Tan Tan: A Diary under Wuhan Lockdown, video, 2020.

Tan Tan is an intermedia artist who currently lives and works in China and Belgium. Her oeuvre covers experimental film/video art, performance/theater, music/sound art, installation, and cyber art.She had several solo exhibitions and took part in numerous art events internationally, such as 60th Berlinale, 2010, International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2011 (IFFR), Images Festival, 2012 (Canada), 43rd Tampere Film Festival, 2013 (Finland),  Venize Biennale, 2015 and 2017, Asian Art Top Show, 2010  (China), 1st ASEAN Biennial, 2013 (China), Wuzhen Theatre Festival, 2016 (China), Creative China Festival at La Mama Experimental theater, 2019 (The USA)

*(Editorial comment) As of april 17, 2020 the offical number of casualties in Wuhan rised for about 50%, from 2.567 to almost 3.900.

This is a contribution by invitation, to Tanja Ostojić’s Misplaced Women? project. Edited and first published by: Tanja Ostojić at the Misplaced Women? Project blog, April 5, 2020.

Please see Tan Tan’s March 8, 2018 performance contribution to the Misplaced Women? project

Dagmara Bilon realised 3 performances on gentrification, home and identity in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by LADA London, December 13 & 14, 2016

In Homes, London, Performances, Railway-stations, Workshops on March 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm

In the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by Live Arts Development Agency London, on December 13 & 14, 2016, Dagmara Bilon realised 3 performance interventions which she has called “embodied investigations into home and identity; a protest against becoming a silenced and isolated as wallpaper, dedicated to the ever-changing landscape of London in the mist of gentrification.” 

For my first intervention I chose to unpack my heavy back-pack on  a street corner in Hackney Wick near the neighborhood’s formerly longest occupied squat. I took of my heavy rucksack from my back and start to unpack. It’s full of various objects, accumulated over time: my childhood toys, my children’s toys, things I need for work, such as gaffe-tape, iPad, mobile phone, cigarettes, wire, lots of stones to ground me, so as not to fly away, a black fabric sphere that symbolised the veil of grief for the loss of my father, white pieces of fabric that I use to collect my menstrual blood, pens, pencils, a toy-snake. As I unpack my bag it feels never ending. Bits and pieces of glitter, receipts, notes… Lots and lots of junk, but to me – a trail of my existence. All the objects are bare on the wet concrete floor. While I see them, I feel uncertain of my survival, slightly embarrassed, like a public emptying of the bowels, spilling of my organs. I don’t dare to look into anyone’s eyes;I start to pack my bag as quickly as I possibly can, stuffing things back inside my dirty old rucksack. But there is always something more, always something else spilling out…

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My second performance featured a surreal procession of a displaced female body in a red suitcase, walking in black high heels and black velvet tight leggings over a Bridge in Olympic Park, that leads to London’s biggest shopping mall,Westfield Stratford. In the morning on that day, I took my large red suitcase from my room that contains all my dresses and props from previous London performances. This is when the performance started. I carried the suitcase from my room in South East London to Hackney,down the stairs, down the road, and on public transport. While walking I’m reminiscing of my immigrationat the age of three with my mother from Poland to Germany, with one and only suitcase filled with our possessions. In my associations of a single woman standing by a bus stop with a big red suitcase, symbolises vulnerability danger, but also power. The power to move on. As I travel I notice the eyes of people peeking and then quickly shifting back onto their daily newspaper or smart phone.

Then,  standing by a bridge together with the group of participants from the “Misplaced Woman?” workshop. I open my suitcase and hand my items one by one to individuals in the group. To me this is a most humane and kind experience. To have my items held by others. I take off my golden sandals and step inside my black high heel shoes and through the two holes I have cut in the red suitcase. I squeeze my body into the suitcase and ask a volunteer from the group to lock the suitcase and point me straight over the bridge. I’m inside now, locked in. I can’t see where I am going. My legs are wobbly. The core of my body contorted. I want to speak: “am I going into the right direction?” — but I  don’t have a voice ‘in there’, inside the suitcase. Spontaneously, a member of the group directs me how to walk forwards. I feel even more powerless, cut off and disorientated. I have no choice but to follow instructions and to focus on my feet, to stay on the ground and continue moving forward.

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Dagmara Bilon performing “Misplaced Women?” in the Olympic Park, London, in frame of Tanja Ostojic´s workshop (December 2016)

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For my third performance, I shared an intervention with three women from the “Misplaced Woman?” workshop at Hackney Wick Overground Station. I chose to locate myself on the other side of the platform. It was not ideal for documenting the action. I deliberately wanted to experience the gap between us and the feeling of loosing side of each other as trains move in and out of the platform.

The last time I saw my father was on the other side of a platform in 1985.

I place my red suitcase on the floor and slowly unpack all my dresses and props from previous London performances. Each of them with a story to tell, the dust of previous locations, the smell of sweat or dump, and leave a trace of these items around me that for a sort of island.

I’m standing in the middle of the island and at last pull out a huge Cunt Sculpture. I stand up on the bench “on my island” and hold up my Cunt up high. A train comes into the platform. People are going in and out. A man takes a picture from within the train. The doors are closing. The train moves out again.

I step off the bench, pack up my suitcase again and as I walk over to the other side of the platform to join the others, a mother with a baby looks at me beaming and asks if it was a vagina that I was holding up?

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Text written by Dagmara Bilon

Edited by Tanja Ostojić and Danyel Ferreri

Photos featured in this post taken by the “Misplaced Women?” workshop participants, London, and Aleksandar Utjesinovic

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Dagmara Bilon (b.1981) is a London based Polish/German Performance Artist, Co-Founder of The Purple Ladies Performance Collective, Artist Mentor on The Talking Gender Project and Project Manager of The MotherHouse. Since graduating in 2003 from Trinity Laban with a degree in Dance Theater she has worked as a performer for companies such as Punchdrunk, Psychological Art Circus, The Bones Theater, Marissa Carnesky, Ear Cinema and Lundahl&Seitl. Simultaneously she created and produced her own independent performance projects including staged works, sight specific interventions and one to one performances. More recently she focused on developing performance actions that challenge the notions of motherhood and identity and exhibited work alongside The Desperate Art Wives. She has also conducted various community arts led projects engaging young people in the discourse of gender, sexuality and identity. www.dagmarabilon.com

Alice Tuppen-Corps unpacked her suitcase on December 14 2016 and created the “Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home” Performance in Hackney Wick London

In Homes, London, Performances, Workshops on March 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Alice Tuppen-Corps unpacked her suitcase on December 14 2016 and created the Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home Performance in Hackney Wick London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop lead by Tanja Ostojić, hosted by LADA.

Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home, Solo Performance for Film (Private). White Post Lane. 5.30am – 6.30am and Solo Performance for Film (Live Audience) LADA 14th December 2016.

Alice’s research investigates how specific forms of encounter with individual stories and personal objects can act as enabling agents, transforming the emotional, psychological and creative experience of worlds. In this piece, ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home’, the artist took possessions from her own home to include: a portrait of herself aged four years old, an Eiffel Tower gifted to her in Paris by a lover, her broken wedding ring, two lion hats, a whip, a box of matches and a spikey golden hedgehog.

Foremost a filmmaker, (as well as and significantly here a divorcee), Alice experienced the first day of the workshop with Tanja as a ‘watcher’. She absorbed the performances of others whilst waiting for the moment it felt right for her to perform. That moment came in the early hours of the following morning, inspired by the place she encountered as her ‘home for the night’, an artist’s squat in the East End of London.

‘Alice walked in. She was welcomed, perturbed even, by a new world of waiting objects: a guillotine, two dressmaker’s dummies, broken pots, old papers, a crumpled bed. Placing her suitcase on the floor she took off her hat, coat, shoes and she dressed the two dressmaker’s dummies that confronted her. Arranging her portrait amongst the other pictures on the wall she laid out her own vessels, four little dishes and a Van Gogh teddy bear. Alice infiltrated the space through the slow positioning of her objects. She embodied the space as she integrated her objects with those of the absent ‘host’, in this way she re-storyed herself into a new place of belonging. Alice made the squat her home. The two dummies became her ‘animated’ roommates. She re-worked these characters as symbolic of others she had, lost, left, displaced by her leaving her own home and former relationships. Seeing the characters before her, changed and enlivened by her interventions, she saw others and herself more clearly. As the dummies spoke back to with such autobiographical agency, Alice accessed and activated memories that allowed her to reposition herself. She became placed.

Alice Tuppen-Corps Live Performance with Portrait (6)

Alice Tuppen-Corps: Live Performance with Portrait, Photo: Shannon Mulvey

Alice Tuppen-Corps Live Performance with Hat (7)

Alice Tuppen-Corps: Live Performance with Hat

Alice documented the process and re-performed the ‘unpacking’ of the suitcase to a live audience at LADA that evening and in dialogue with onscreen photographs of the objects when in-situ at the squat. In the live, audiences were dressed by Alice and given offerings from the case to ‘care for’, one audience member said that ‘she felt a transformative wave flow over her, issuing out from the performer, touching the audience and drawing them into the co-generation of a [third space], simultaneously journeying inward to self, outward towards performer and across to the screen’.

Video: Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home

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Alice Tuppen-Corps is a practice-based Ph.D. Researcher and Digital Performance Lecturer at De Montfort University. She was trained at Goldsmiths College and The Slade School of Fine Art with a background in Broadcast and Media Production, Higher Education and Arts Psychotherapy.  She is a Ph.D. practice-based researcher and artist based in the East Midlands.

She is principally investigating ‘Digital Performance and the Feminine: Transformational Encounters’. In her artistic practice she filmically re-stages individual stories within augmented, networked and tactile environments in order to generate new qualities of reflective space that empower transformation, contemplation and connection. Bracha Ettinger’s concept of ‘Carriance’ is theoretically foreground, allowing ‘the other’ to be ‘within me [him/her] charged’. Alice adopts Ettinger’s concept of ‘Thinking (M) otherwise’ (2006) and performatively facilitates her participants to co-create within matrixial spaces of technological, sculptural, filmic and relational aesthetics. Like a ‘Mobius Strip’, her artworks reciprocally and affectively touch back and within such artistic carriance structures, a hopeful and restorative dance is activated in self and other regardless of sexual or gender identification. www.alicetuppencorps.com

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Text: Alice Tuppen-Corps

Video: Shannon Mulvey
Photographs: Alice Tuppen–Corps, Shannon Mulvey

Email: alicecharlotte(AT)myself.com

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