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11th Berlin Biennale c/o ExRotaprint

exp. 2: Virginia de Medeiros – Feminist Health Care Research Group


What kind of beast is a crowd? How does a pulsating collective body press against those within, outside, or underneath it? In what way are the powers of dissident bodies being incited today? Virginia de Medeiros and the Feminist Health Care Research Group (Inga Zimprich/Julia Bonn) activate the ExRotaprint space, touching these questions through radically different considerations of the sexual politics and the care of both the collective and isolated body. What was Flávio de Carvalho looking for in 1931 on the streets of São Paulo when he decided to walk through the crowd of a Corpus Christi procession? Shortly afterward, the Brazilian artist published a book with an analytical description of the incident, which he titled Experiência n. 2 [Experience no. 2]. Nevertheless, it is possible to think through and beyond this intervention—that almost led to the artist being lynched by an angry mob—by asking not only how to save ourselves, survive, or become stronger but also what it means to be a body today.

Feminist Health Care Research Group

How to survive the assault being waged on our bodies by patriarchal capitalism? Fear, anxiety, and exhaustion are a part of the everyday warfare of self-care. The Feminist Health Care Research Group (FHCRG), made up of artists Inga Zimprich and Julia Bonn, have spent the last few years practicing mutual care as a communal act of resistance. Initiated through informal meetings in their own homes and occupying the reproductive space of cooking and caring for their small children, their work developed into a mode of knowledge-sharing around feminist radical healthcare. Departing from their own situation as artists and mothers, they attentively listen to the experiences of others involved in self-organized radical healthcare practices in order to develop and share that knowledge. They gather and develop these different modes of interrogating the internalized ableist paradigms that currently determine our understanding of how particular human bodies are meant to perform and produce. In the archive exhibition Practices of Radical Health Care (2018–ongoing) they look into the past—West Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s—and present feminist and healthcare movements linked to radical therapy, antipsychiatry, and queer self-care as a means of developing collective methods and tools for dealing with the crises that surround us. The FHCRG not only asks how to create communal self-organized feminist support structures but also proposes shared vulnerability as a weapon and power of soft collective bodies.

Virginia de Medeiros

Over the course of two decades, Virginia de Medeiros’s artistic experimentation has embraced the desire for a collective revolution of a social, political, and sexual scope. A militant in the field of queer subjectivity, Medeiros starts a three-month residency in Berlin with the presentation of her film Trem em Transe [Train in Trance] (2019). Its protagonist is Simone, a self-styled transvestite who embodies eagerness to reverse the intolerable level of social abandonment that she had experienced. Simone was “reborn” in the person of pastor Sergio Santos after an overdose-provoked “revelation.” The staples of a previous life, crack and prostitution, were exorcised as part of a long-standing cure. In her home country of Brazil, the life expectancy of transgender people is about 35 years. For these human beings in distress, mysticism and spiritualism are used as a way of achieving care and affection. Nevertheless, the robes of Neo-Pentecostal liturgy are unable to contain the ancestral vibration of Candomblé. While despair has overtaken the entire body, it has not yet dissolved its bindings with the territory. The tremor that yields the trance ends up giving way to an indomitable lust for life. As the camera enters into the circular movements made famous by Glauber Rocha’s 1960s Cinema Novo, Medeiros prefers to move around and forgo allegory as a way of directly challenging the open veins of fanaticism.