Performance by Victória Souza
Text by Melquisedeque Matos
“The image associated with memory will be worth it in itself, for the act of overcoming and communicating that it can establish as art.” (RANGEL, Sônia. 2015. Pg.17). It is with this quote that I begin by stating that performance builds an image that above speaks for itself, is born from the seams of the skin, but is no longer limited to this connection, it reaches a macro point by touching a communication between art and social reflection, thus creating identifications that reverberate.
The performer positions herself at the beginning of the courtyard of the UFPA School of Theater and Dance with her body wrapped in white rubber bands, which tighten, hold, tie, the artist’s body, voice and hair. In this context, it is possible to observe the symbolism of this triad that, for Victoria, structures her silencing as a black woman. In her statement, the artist says:
I use the white elastic as a form of identity oppression, an elastic that not only holds my hair, but that holds my body as a black woman, and my mouth. In this rubber band there is all the sexism, racism, bullying. Everything that hits me somehow. (SOUZA, Victória. 2018)
The ribbons that tied the bows of the white girls’ straight hair were the same ribbons that tied smiles, arms, voice, body and subjectivity. In summary form, these are the sensations that Victoria Inês Oliveira de Souza experienced in her trajectory as a black woman, who lives in a society of emptying the subjectivity of the black population.
The domination of bodies is an increasingly socially observable reality, however, the domination of black bodies is an event that has never ceased. Currently, the way of controlling and disciplining these bodies is not simply in direct violence, that is, physical violence, but now, it takes advantage of the construction of a system of symbolic violence that acts equally with the objective of making bodies docile and passive of this movement. of dismantling of individualities. In this way, Miriam Furlan Brighente and Peri Mesquida comment:
The docility of bodies is no longer necessarily linked to physical violence (punishments, paddles, kneeling in corn, spanking, etc.), but is established by another type of violence against the body – “symbolic violence”. There is, therefore, a look of disapproval, as well as the deprivation of the word, the prohibition of the expression of thought, the requirement of good conduct. (2011, p. 2391)
From this reality, Victoria recalls situations from when she was 8 years old, maybe younger; she was a little black girl with curly hair, her body suffered, her hair suffered from having to be circumscribed in the limitation of the elastic that produced frizz-pain. She grew up screaming with “bombril hair”, from the persecutions in her adolescence. “Straightening is more beautiful” was a cyclical phrase that occupied the routine. As these words were preached, the young woman was nailed, trapped in the white beauty of her hair, now, at 13, straight.
In this moment, this system is denounced by the performer, who looks for marks on her black body, or rather, the ties, as proposed by the artist. It is in this search that she builds her creative process, excavating memories, that is, inductors that would potentialize her body-in- life. In this sense, the performance is not wanting to assemble a representation of memory, but rather cultivates a force-image resulting from a perception of life, which creates symbolisms and symbioses with whom to interact, the traces of poetics culminate in the poetic act itself, which is in constant dialogue and transmutation (SALES, 2018).
BRIGHENTE, Miriam Furlan; MESQUIDA, Peri. Michel Foucault: corpos dóceis e disciplinados nas instituições escolares. I Seminário Internacional de Representações Sociais, Subjetividade e Educação – SIRSSE. Pontífica Universidade Católica do Paraná. Curitiba, 2011
RANGEL, Sonia. Trajeto Criativo. Bahia: Solisluna Editora, 2015.
SALLES, Cecília A. Gesto Inacabado: processo de criação artística. 5 ed. São Paulo: Intermeios, 2012.