MisplacedWomen?

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Mirror, Mirror – Spread Your Reflection!

In Berlin, Performances, Workshops on February 28, 2018 at 12:47 pm

In the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s Misplaced Women? workshop, January 22–24,2018, hosted by Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz, Berlin, the following performance action has been developed and performed for the first time:

Mirror, Mirror – Spread Your Reflection!  –  a collaborative intervention with large mirrors in Berlin’s underground confronting manspreading, a habit of men sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than their own seat.

By: Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

With the participation of: Gaby Bila-Günther, Nati Canto, Alice Minervini, Evdoxia Stafylaraki and Jiachen Xu, without whom this intervention would not be possible.

Duration: ca. 2 hours

Locations:

U8, from Hermannstraße to Weinmeisterstraße

U8, from Weinmeisterstraße to Kottbusser Tor, change to U1

U1, Kottbusser Tor to Wittenbergplatz

U1, Wittenbergplatz to Schlesisches Tor

2-Alice

“Mirror, Mirror – Spread Your Reflection!” by Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh, developed in the frame of: Tanja Ostojić´s Misplaced Women? workshop, Berlin (Jan. 2018) With: Gaby Bila-Günther, Nati Canto, Alice Minervini, Evdoxia Stafylaraki, Jiachen Xu. Photo: Alice Minervini

Berlin’s underground station is a central meeting point in the public arena. Various people from all directions come together, pass each other silently or simply diverge paths. In such a rapidly-growing city, the underground has turned into the main means of transport and it is no longer uncommon to see people moving homes or moving their furniture by means of the U-Bahn.

3-Jiachen

“Mirror, Mirror – Spread Your Reflection!” by Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh, developed in the frame of: Tanja Ostojić´s Misplaced Women? workshop, Berlin (Jan. 2018) With: Gaby Bila-Günther, Nati Canto, Alice Minervini, Evdoxia Stafylaraki, Jiachen Xu. Photo: Jiachen Xu

Together with five other women holding large mirrors on Berlin’s underground, the collaborative intervention was a silent protest against manspreading faced by women in everyday life. Spectators were privy to the blurred relationship between the women due to the disjointedness of cultural backgrounds, age and style of clothing that characterised each woman.

4-Alice

“Mirror, Mirror – Spread Your Reflection!” by Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh, developed in the frame of: Tanja Ostojić´s Misplaced Women? workshop, Berlin (Jan. 2018) With: Gaby Bila-Günther, Nati Canto, Alice Minervini, Evdoxia Stafylaraki, Jiachen Xu. Photo: Alice Minervini

The aim of the subtle intervention was to point out an issue that has become quite normalised in our mind. The intervention showed that even when women appear silent, we are in fact all actors of the public-political sphere. For two hours, women deliberately reclaimed the urban space as a form of resistance.

5-Alice.jpg

“Mirror, Mirror – Spread Your Reflection!” by Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh, developed in the frame of: Tanja Ostojić´s Misplaced Women? workshop, Berlin (Jan. 2018) With: Gaby Bila-Günther, Nati Canto, Alice Minervini, Evdoxia Stafylaraki, Jiachen Xu. Photo: Sajan Mani

Separated and placed at different stations along the U8 line, each woman would, one by one, enter the carriage of the same train. We would sit in male-dominated areas, ideally opposite a man spreading his legs widely. The mirror would face him whilst we appeared to be hidden behind each mirror and yet, our bodies were physically always present

At the same time, each woman felt empowered by a small, symbolic act. Yet the impact was strong – we had created a place of surveillance by literally holding up the mirror to men (and to society). We sat a powerful mark on how men have been depriving women of the right to a space that belongs to all of us. We observed reactions of visible intimidation and uneasiness by men who were exposed to our confrontation. We disrupted the urban space and displaced men out of the seemingly guaranteed anonymity.

Using the mirror as a tool of resistance, I was intrigued in particular by its symbolic meaning and the questions it raised: What is (in-)visible? What becomes (in-)visible in public space?

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Text written by: Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

Edited and published by: Tanja Ostojić

Photo and video documentation by: Sajan Mani, Alice Minervini and Jiachen Xu

For further actions check out the Spread Your Reflection page.

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Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh is a Performative Activist of Colour based in Berlin.

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