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Where the word feminist used to be a dirty word, it’s now become a badge of honour thanks to movements like The Women’s March, #MeToo and #TimesUp. As the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk We Should All Be Feminists still resonate through our bodies, feminism has never been more alive. ‘My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better,’ she said. It’s also this phrase which has become a beacon and a Leitmotif for Kaaitheater’s third edition of WoWmen!, taking place in the week of International Women’s Day. We made a selection of the most inspiring pieces daring to ask poignant questions, not afraid to address controversial themes.
Words by Laura Ramos
For the first time in Kaaitheater, Finnish-Egyptian theatre director Samira Elagoz will make her entrance with her new performance Cock,Cock…Who’s There?, a both unsettling and moving piece in which Samira takes us through some of her own traumatic sexual experiences. She sheds light on the inextricable relation between power and sex, as well as the online manipulation of bodies. While her work builds on the introspection of her personal traumas, the issues she addresses are relatable and universal. The result is a gripping piece, a definite must-see.
Minor Matter is the second part of Ligia Lewis’ BLUE RED WHITE TRILOGY and corresponds to red, the colour of anger and love. With a stage bathing in red, Ligia Lewis pushes her body and that of her two dancers to the limits of exhaustion. Minor Matter uses metaphors to ask questions about black identity and more specifically, about (re-)presentation, abstraction, and the limits of signification. Lewis combines historical dance moves with moves of popular black culture, all while using cultural symbols referring to another main theme: death.
21 Pornographies is one part of The Red Pieces, a series in which Ingvartsen researches the relation between sexuality and the public sphere. The piece 21 Pornographies starts from the idea that pornography has rooted itself deep into our society. It explores this theme through characteristics like violence and pain or clinical expression, rather than using explicit sex. She mixes narrative with physical actions to create a mental choreography that sparks the imagination and maybe even cause some physical reaction.
With the piece Elastic Habitat Dietirch and Raaphorst research the imaginative, speculative or invisible body. Their immersive installation functions as a playground where you’re invited to touch and even interact with textile sculptures. These sculptures are based on the investigation of their own body and personal perceptions of their bodies. The idea is to literally crawl into the mind of an imaginary body. This childlike interaction gives you the opportunity to explore your own body and identity in a very intuitive and uninhibited way.
Emiritus professor Gloria Wekker will talk about the paradox resent in places with a colonial past, countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, places where race still incites a lot of emotion and aggression, where at the same time race and racism seems to be denied. She will touch subjects like white innocence and intersectional feminism. After the talk there will be a discussion between Gloria and Karen Celis (VUB) with questions by Rachida Lamrabet, student and publicist Sabrine Ingabire (Vlaamse Jeugdraad), Bert Bultinck (editor-in-chief of Knack Magazine) and author Heleen Debeuckelaere.
21 Pornographies by Mette Ingvartsen is happening 10 March at Kaaitheater, Brussels. The show is free for members. Become a member here.