Posts Tagged ‘Ostkreuz’

Berlin Contribution by Jiachen Xu and Evdoxia Stafylaraki

In Berlin, Performances, Railway-stations, Workshops on February 2, 2019 at 10:42 pm

Body Measuring and Dying Oranges Chess Play

Performance by: Jiachen Xu and Evdoxia Stafylaraki

Location: S-Bahn train stations Prenzlauer Allee and Ostkreuz, Berlin, January 23, 2018.

Text by: Jiachen

The performance consists of three parts: body measuring, dying oranges chess play, and the in-between or misplaced spaces. It is a result of spontaneous entanglement of ideas from Evdoxia (body measuring) and Jiachen (orange chess play) developed during Berlin itinerary of the “Misplaced Women?” workshop by Tanja Ostojić. Though the performance as an entity is inseparable from any of it’s parts, I will mainly look at the latter part and the surrounding forces in this writing piece. 

Within the workshop “Misplaced Women?” facilitated by Tanja Ostojić, words such as: misplaced, women, and the question mark, became the structuring forces of this performance. “Women” in its plural form, I ask, identified as a queer feminist woman of colour, who are included in its reference? Misplaced, as the adjective suggests, on one hand, a finished state, temporally or not, in comparison to the wording “displacing”; on the other, what is the defining state of “placement”, and I wander, defined by whom?  My thought thus arrives at the question mark. 


Jiachen and Evdoxia Stafylaraki: “Body Measuring and Dying Oranges Chess Play”, “Misplaced Women? Workshop, Berlin, 2018. Photo: Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh and Nati Canto

Trinh T. Minh-ha is one of those feminist theorists who inspires me lastingly. She says, “Woman can never be defined. Bat, dog, chick, mutton, tart. Queen, madam, lady of pleasure. MISTRESS. Belle-de-nuit, woman of the street, fruit woman, fallen woman. Cow, vixen, bitch. Call girl, joy girl, working girl” (1986). This vivid and visual description of the ontological instability of women, especially for third world women in Minh-ha’s account, speaks for me. I gain my strength from reading works by black feminists and feminists of colour to survive joyfully, bravely and ambiguously in a seemingly constant misplaced/misplacing state, physically, psychologically, and beyond.


Jiachen and Evdoxia Stafylaraki: “Body Measuring and Dying Oranges Chess Play”, “Misplaced Women? Workshop, Berlin, 2018. Photo: Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

I went to the workshop with an expectation to actualise certain struggling thoughts through body performances. The result, one week after the workshop, is way more than that. It is already very therapeutic for me to be surrounded by women bravely and creatively in the face of different forms of displacement struggles. And to share and do something collectively through an honest and caring sharing of our vulnerabilities. How wonderful is that!


Jiachen and Evdoxia Stafylaraki: “Body Measuring and Dying Oranges Chess Play”, “Misplaced Women? Workshop, Berlin, 2018. Photo: Nati Canto and Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

In terms of the specific performance collaborated with Eva (Evdoxia Stafylaraki), I am a bit resistant to translate the process into languages. I would like to share some details that might be interesting to know. I come across those seven dying oranges at two friend’s kitchen. They were forgotten in the corner, waiting to be thrown away into trash. I noticed them and initially arranged them on the back placemat on the kitchen table. This was the birth of the idea “dying oranges chess play”. Number seven bears different meanings in different cultural contexts. In my memory it signifies a return in I-Ching. I guess there is always a piece of me strives for a return, even though the “original” place is non-existent anymore. To mobilise the nostalgia feeling evoked by “return” to the on-going chess play in public transportation stations seems to be one of the articulations during the chess play part of the performance. No one is setting the rules in the present, but there are waves of ghosts surrounding the gameplay. These waves of ghosts in my retrospective reading were displaced by the first part of the performance: the body measuring. Constant decision: making or un-making, and the questions of the aesthetics of misplaced existence are brought to the very surface, and will hopefully get revolved and transformed, step by step.

Text by: Jiachen Xu


Video and photos: Nati Canto, Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

Edited and first published by Tanja Ostojić, 2018-19 on the Misplaced Women? project blog


Jiachen recently finished a joint master degree in women’s and gender studies in Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and University of Oviedo, Spain.

Evdoxia Stafylaraki is mathematician, sculptor and performance artist from Chania, Greece.


Please visit as well other contributions and posts from the same workshops:

Contribution by Mad Kate

Contribution by Rhea Ramjohn

Contribution by Hoang Tran Hieu Hanh

Contribution by LADY GABY

Contribution by Ola Kozioł

Contribution by Татьяна Bogacheva

Public Presentation of the Misplaced Women? Workshop, Berlin, January 2018

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