PENURIAS, PICK A DICK
“Penurias, pick a dick” depicts a shadow painted with organic tint and blood. This is based on my silhouette projected on the fabric. The remains of our body interpreted by others. Our bodies reconfigured as fragile or inviting to violence since we are children. Our bodies in the view of strangers, of family, of the person to trust. Remains without a face. Anger, fear. How should we portray ourselves when walking on a dark street in order to stay safe, how should we handle ourselves not to provoke, how should we draw ourselves when going to the police. How do we become a “proper victim” in front of “authorities”? how our body language can make us look like we were “asking for it”. How do we project ourselves in front of the Protection Institution?
This fabric with silhouette is attached to knitted colourful penises that lay on the floor, fragile and soft. The demanding penises. Penises that want to be respected, feared, touched, taken care of, seen, sucked, loved. Penises the audience was invited to step on.
The first installation “Pater Familias” gathers photocopies of documents issued along eight years of the process in Peru for getting sole custody of my child up until today with the ongoing migration process to bring my son to Sweden. The words“father”, “god” and “husband” are repeated in a lot of the documents even when the father is completely absent in these processes. This piece reflects the violence in which institutions force women to go through long evaluations that demand money, time, and emotional waste in order to reinforce the “paterfamilias-figure”, where a family is incomplete without a father, without a husband.
I made portraits of my son with kitchen oil. Portraits of how I remember him when these events occurred. The absence and the remembrance of how I think and feel about my child over the documents that foster his absence. Holy father, father of god.
Holy Father, Jesus Christ. Nailed to the cross
Nailed to the fucking cross
- Where is your husband?
- Kid, where is your father?
- Do you know your father?
- Why is your father not here?
All children need a father
The family needs a father
Pater familias, the head of society’s core structure
Father government is an absent abusive parent. Appears every once in a while, drunk and violent. Demands food and sex. Calls you a whore. You fucking slut who wants to go around without taking proper care of the child.
A mother should be next to her child
Eight years of asking favors
Dear judge, could I have my son with me when I travel? No. A kid needs his father.
Dear judge the father has abandoned my son when eight years ago. Why did you ask my kid about his father?
A kid needs a father
Dear judge, could I have my son under my sole custody? No. What if the father overcomes his problems, one day
Dear judge can you put pressure on the father so he can pay some child support? No, we need to understand his precarious state, and you are the only dependant on your parents as a parasite. No problem for you
- Ma’m, will you be able to handle all the responsibilities we demand in this school by yourself? We ask for a lot of parent participation.
- Without a father, now taking him away from his country…Poor child
- Crazy impulsive person. We need to have a lot of psychologic evaluations to see if she can handle this.
- Dear Judge: Why do I have to go through so many tests and long processes, there is no opponent here, the other person is just absent.// All kids need a father
- Dear judge: The father has spent money and time to get rid of the responsibility.
- Dear migration office: I don’t have a husband.
- Dear municipality education office person: Why do you think me and my son will “hardly” become members of your fine kommun?
The law system builds an absence, builds up pain, stigmatize children, families.
Dead to the holy father. Dead to god
Daddy government empowers the presence/absence of the father
The absence of my child
A mother should be with her child
Finally, the third installation “Vida Bohemia -Rossanaconda”, is a homage to my great-grandmothers who are not that present in my family´s stories since they are remembered to be the impoverished and uneducated past of the family. The past we should be ashamed of in order to adapt and to be accepted in “wealthier” environments.
I take the figure of my grandmother as a turning point for my own family´s history and also for a collective context dealing with the situation of indigenous communities in my country. Which also reflects the general history of how whole cultures were planned to be erased using different argumentation in each case.
The idea of racial and cultural hierarchies stems from the power of colonial storytelling portraying indigenous population as dirty, obscene, uncivilized savages. Stereotypes of ‘uncivilized’ people were at times further framed within an evangelical context, allowing European military forces to present their conquest of ‘savages’ as divinely ordained: a colonial military doctrine.
During 1969, the agrarian reform was implemented in Peru to take the Haciendas from the patrons (Spaniards or Criollos) to give them to the working-force: the indigenous-farmer communities. By doing so, the silenced objectified working-force regained a voice, at least on paper.
During the Fujimori government (1990-2000) around294 000 women were sterilized in Peru. Most of them were Andean women on the grounds that they were uneducated poor women that would bring up more poor to the population. This was Fujimori´s strategy to manifest a progressing country in the path of success.
For Vida Bohemia – Rossanaconda I built a sculpture of my great-grandmother with a metal skeleton as a base, positioned as if it was dancing the Huayno (a folkloric traditional Andean type of music), then I built the organs with materials such as soft fabric, yarn, paper, and plastic. I made the skin with transparent delicate fabric tinted with wax, blood, and hair. Blood of my blood. The sculpture wears a pink skirt that was given to me as a gift from my grandmother and I have taken this skirt to different celebrations around the world. There are four old monitors surrounding the sculpture showing images of women, colleagues, and friends from Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Sweden celebrating in different cities such as Lima, Visviriand Stockholm. The audio of this installation changes from songs by the Andean folk diva Flor Pucarina to distortion- and techno queer noise. On the walls, there is a text-poem that starts with “I’m the savage, the otherness / I´m the savage, embodied complexity / I’m the savage you discover in her own lands / I’m savage you raped and kept as a slave”.
Vida Bohemia1- Rossanaconda : Hysteriska Historika from Rossana Mercado on Vimeo.
Vida Bohemia 2_ Rossanaconda: Hysteriska_Historika from Rossana Mercado on Vimeo.
Installation and videos for Vida Bohemia
I’m the savage, the otherness
I´m the savage, embodied complexity
I’m the savage you discover in her own lands
I’m the savage you raped and kept as a slave
I’m the savage that inspires you to overfeed your children
I’m the savage that drinks beer before the weekend
I’m the savage that dances while mourning
I’m the savage that makes you lose control
I’m the savage you desire
I’m the savage you despite
I’m the savage that laughs and cries at the same time
I’m the savage you don’t understand
I’m the savage you admire but want your distance from
I’m the savage that understands the drugs you want to get high on
I’m the savage who needs to be sterilized
I’m the savage who has too many kids
I’m the savage who should not have kids
I’m the savage who rents the womb for you to have kids
I’m the savage who inspires you to help
I’m the savage who needs to learn and behave
I’m the savage who needs to be ashamed of her way to speak
I’m the savage who needs to learn español-English-Svenska
I’m the savage who stinks
I’m the savage who makes beautiful crafts you want to buy
I’m the savage who has her kids taken by the socials
I’m the savage who neglects
I’m the savage that doesn’t take meds
I’m the savage that has a broken back
I’m the savage who celebrates too loud
I’m the savage who is invading you
I’m the savage in your eyes, ears, heart, brain
I’m the savage dancing with the bodies of their families, killed, tortured, impoverished
I’m the savage drinking her pain away
I’m the savage drinking tears
I’m the savage knitting her own heart
I’m the savage you should not talk about
I’m the savage you need to be ashamed of
I’m the savage who gave birth to you
I’m the savage who will overcome
I’m the savage who could not be killed by the machine
I’m the savage inside my daughters and granddaughter’s blood
I’m the savage conquering you