May 24, 2016 / Napoli-specific Performance, curated by Adriana Rispoli for Wine&theCity/ nine edition, Municipio Underground Station, Line n.1, Naples Council, Italy
Asked to produce a site-specific artpiece for the cold, aseptic environment of this newly built underground station, I decided to work in the direction of raising the emotional temperature of the space. I took inspiration from the day I went to see the station for the first time and I got systematically harassed by men who were passing by, as Naples is so famous for its “special treatment” reserved for women that walk alone.
I targeted only men who chose the escalators to get to the subway platform. I caught them by surprise, from behind, putting my headphones on them, with the song Reality playing loudly, related to the French movie from the 80’s La Boum. I insisted with them, as much as I could, to keep the headphones on, touching, hugging, kissing, clearly harassing them albeit very sweetly. At the end of the two escalators, I handed a letter to them and turned my back, without giving any explanation.
Growing up in Rome made me used to the vulgarity of a male approach that is carried out mostly by insults, getting mocked in front of everyone so that the “compliment” becomes an abuse, perpetrated with the aim to humiliate and, certainly, not to seduce. In Naples, instead, still exists the practice of courting; men present themselves telling fanciful stories that suppose to motivate the interruption of my legitimate personal privacy. The displayed narrative becomes an embrace, a warm attempt to take me home or maybe just hang around, sharing that time which is still not recognized as ‘mine’ because I am walking alone.
I wanted to bring a bit of reality into the game of relationships between genders by producing an intense, romantic situation, totally absurd, unexpected and not avoidable. I narcissistically chose to impose it like many of those male approaches that women are forced to endure outside of their homes. The given letter was then helping every involuntary participant to get the conceptual meaning I implied in the action, focusing on the reversal role I managed to put in place by manipulating their reactions.
Extract from the letter:
“..without reciprocity, without an equal exchange of desire there is no real intimacy, no truth behind actions, it’s only prevarication. And that’s Reality. The moment we just share is useful to reflect, aesthetically, on this very concept. Thank you for letting it happen.”
Photography: Amedeo Benestante, Giancarlo De Luca, Emilia Vitulano
Logistics: Adriana Rispoli, Giustina Purpo, Lorenzo Xiques