To the Aching Parts! (Manifesto) is a public speech which dissects the language used by and against queer communities today. Devoid of grammar, the text is subjected to the order and pleasure of rhythm. Commissioned by HAU Hebbel am Ufer in the frame of “Manifestos for Queer Futures”, the performance relies on historic references to militancy by minorities to address the dangers of normativity and the need for embodied intersectionality when forming queer alliances today. By taking liberty to play around with the language of resentment and trauma as well as empathy and healing, it proposes to destabilise identities, practices and well known acronyms like LGB or FtM for the sake of a queer future we have yet to envisage.
Perhaps the most interesting Polish work was Ania Nowak’s video To the Aching Parts! (Manifesto) (2019), made in the frame of Manifestos for Queer Futures by the Berlin theatre Hebbel am Ufer. In it we see a female figure dressed in an ancient costume, neither a Greek toga nor a gown, who, like a contemporary Temida, laments in an incomprehensible, invented language the lack of real agency and the impossibility of realizing lofty postulates of freedom.
Agata Pyzik Magazyn Szum
[A]gainst the backdrop of a romantic arcade in a park and wearing a specially designed dress, stylized somewhat as an allegory of freedom from Delacroix, the performer keeps reciting repetitive words and phrases. Among other things, she repeats the word dyke in a military rhythm for over a minute, reminding us with this simple gesture how at any moment we can be called upon to take a minority position by means of a random violent comment. However, in this unbearable persistence, the dyke in Nowak’s work is proud and does not give in to the orders monotonously recited by the performer (which oscillate around: “normalize, solidify, strengthen”). It is not only a work about the appropriation of an originally harmful language (as was the case with the English word “queer”), but above all about the fact that the meanings of language are fluid and sensitive to context – a word repeated too often ceases to mean anything and reveals its inner twistedness and the nonsense inherent in every sense.
Aleksander Kmak Magazyn Szum
Idea, text, performance Ania Nowak
Outside eye Julia Rodríguez, Justyna Stasiowska
Sound (for the live performance) Justyna Stasiowska
Video Anu Czerwiński
Costume Grzegorz Matląg
Production HAU Hebbel am Ufer
In the frame of Manifestos For Queer Futures as part ofThe Present Is Not Enough – Performing Queer Histories and Futures
Photos Anu Czerwiński, Paweł Janczaruk / BWA Zielona Góra