The rotten smell is you
Performance: The Ultimate Coquette by Anastasija Pavić 05.09.23 at 20h
It’s a public secret we feminists have neglected a rotting issue, it lives in the same house we built, under the roof we erected, inside the walls we constructed. It spreads as a dormant illness, a psycho-somatic past lurking for the next big kill, gatekeeping the values which were laid in a stream of care, but the creek has now turned to stone. The smell is pungent, encapsulating and overpowering, a rich, juicy, leaky fruit turned to dust and neglect. It sat in the room for a while, but it was easier to open the window when air needed to be cleared, as if help would come from outside.
The ephemeral space created here houses different experiences which are causing tensions in the feminist household; viewing the movement as a family, with multiple generations living under the same roof by default. And a family should be united, chosen; through thick and thin, family sticks together, yet the reality behind closed doors is not always so peachy. These generational gaps can be seen through the waves of the movement, most notably, the often present rift between the second and third wave “elders’’ and the fourth wavers. The staging of this open house isn’t meant as an all encompassing study, nor of the fourth wave, but rather to highlight and bring back into a safe conversation these topics which are causing the most interior turmoil. Often publicly appropriated by the right, against one of our own, with the help of another one of our own. Sex work, transness and hyperfemininity, the positions on which the movement fails to stand united, fails its own offspring.
The rotten smell is you begs to address the you in the equation; and while the question of the you is more useful than answering whether the you itself is addressed to the viewer, to their positionality, or some outside element. It is a starting point and a navigational tool through the intricate web of histories, relations, power plays, politics, bodies, economies, emotions, identities, false care systems and interdependencies. The rotten smell is you demands a self-check in the first step taken in this space, the game of detecting the bad feminist in oneself. The rotten is the neglected, the unaddressed which assumes, which overlooks, or which particles will stick to the walls of your lungs, way past the point of exposure.