Ann-Sofie Öman on Performance: Corpo Insurrecto 3.0: The Robo-Proletariat

La Pocha Nostra - Guilleromo Gomez-Pena, Erica Mott, Dani d'Emilia
With participants from the performance work shop

Whether the many images created by the Pocha Nostra team are perceived to be shocking or not, slightly disturbing or not, or extremely humorous or not, is something that is completely up to the viewer. Those who are used to provocative art probably found the images from yesterday's performance at the Elektrarna stage interesting and fascinating. Others, who might not have seen anything like this before, maybe turned around and left after five minutes, feeling sick - or got completely absorbed and hooked on what was going on.

There is a significant male trait of gay and drag queen aesthetics hovering over almost the whole performance, taking place at four separate stages. The one part that is far away from this aesthetics is Dani d'Emilia's stage, where she conveys a number of aspects of how a woman can be restrained, from the strings of a pair of ballet shoes in a grotesque physical exercise, over a row of clothespins pinching the skin of her arms, to a non elastic dress shaped by cones made of transparent plastic, where she uses apples to push up her bosom even higher, while she with her body language all the time expresses how much she hates these restraints. All the costumes and all their details are very cleverly put together, with a true artist's skillful, and very aware, mind and hands.

It's very aggressive, but it's more than that. The whole time there is a vulnerability over the performance, that without any hesitation gives the impression that there is a cause for this aggression - it's not a mad feminist going nuts. Maybe it's the memory of a mother who has been abused by her husband, maybe her character is a daughter that was abused by her father, maybe it's just a reaction to a consistent sophisticated oppression by a very male society - or maybe a little of everything. Whatever it is, the symbol for it was a very red penis of average size and shape that she strapped on to herself. The catharsis was of course when she persuaded a male member of the audience to get up on the stage and melt the penis with the help of a gas burner for cocking. The penis, it looked as if it was made of stearin, slowly became smaller and smaller, to the obvious delight of the artist. Her final very intense washing of her naked genitals enhanced the impression of a cause connected to sexual violence of some kind, and the need of trying to wash away the disgust this violence has created within her, towards herself and towards men.

Thank you, Dani. And thanks to everyone in the performance, for being so brave and addressing so many important issues in such colourful and creative ways.


-Ann-Sofie Öman
Covering the City of Women festival for the Swedish magazine Danstidningen