Situation-Specific Performance for/against one man at the time, collective exhibition: “Con i tuoi occhi”, Milan Council, curated by Francesca Guerisoli. Milan Italy
(violence against women is a serious male problem, now unbearable)
In a very busy square of Milan, during an art event to sensibilize people about the major issue of violence against women, I spent 3 hours collapsing on a bench for less than a minute and then targeting the first man I was seeing in front of me while opening my eyes. I walked to him, either if he was alone or with someone else, touching his arm, his shoulder, addressing him very friendly “do you remember?”…When he replied “no i am sorry…I don’t” I began telling him one of my stories, that I remember that day when he was knocking his sister on a wall ( or hitting her wife or raping his girlfriend, etc… ). I told each man a different very detailed story that I wrote using reports of assaults from the press. After delivering my lines with a sweet but firm voice I wasn’t allowing any reply, leaving him while he was still talking to me, walking to lay down on a far away bench. After each of these interventions, evert targeted man was approached by one of my assistants to deliver him a card and few words of explanation of the event.
Each man reacted similarly at the very beginning, immediately telling me that I got it wrong, “it wasn’t me”, then some of them started to insult me, some asked me if it was a joke, some were speechless, bemused, upset. One, after few minutes I left him, reached me and threw me on the floor while I was lying on the bench, we fought and then we got separated by bodyguards.
This performance reflects my very personal need to deal with the male audience regarding this specific topic, no matter if in a too confrontational or provocative way. I am tired of experiencing work made by women “for women”, I believe men should be the most direct referent. Violence against women is their problem first and it is time for them to address it culturally too, taking responsibility for it.
Vera Dell’Oro, Daniele Pellizzoni, Valentina Maggi