Me-eat-ology Interrupted. A performance by Adriana Jamisse in collaboration with Julia de Rosenwerth. It was performed as part of Adriana Jamisse’s practical drama exam in April 2016.
-words by Julia de Rosenwerth
Adriana and I discussed the content of the work extensively before creating anything physical. I knew that the inspiration for the work came from a very personal place for her, and so I approached with caution and support at first. She had been experiencing recurrent misogynistic behaviour in her personal life which she noticed was being reflected world-wide.
Objectification of the female body was thus one of the conceptual starting points for the work. Being influenced by feminism, veganism and writers who make the link between food consumption and the perception of women, such as Michie in The Flesh Made Word (1987) and Adams in The Sexual Politics of Meat (2006), she decided to use red meat as a metaphor for the objectification of the female body. In the process of making the performance we envisaged raw meat, ways of preparing meat and descriptions of meat. We built a text that I would speak while also pounding a raw steak. This would be done while Adriana (initially wrapped in plastic cling-wrap) would begin to emerge.
I think that it was Adriana’s aim to disregard racist, misogynistic environments through the performance by a trajectory of embodying a position of objectification, emerging from that world, disrupting it and then leaving it. My role in this work was to enact a racist, suppressed, submissive ‘housewife’ but it developed into a suppressed female who was unaware of her complicity in something that was oppressing her. As the performance grew, my character became a reference point which Adriana could actively reject and move beyond in her own performance. This happened through the relationship crafted between Adriana and myself. I never acknowledge her during the performance, but she had a very clear effect on my actions. As she emerged from the wrapping, I was gradually silenced, ridiculed and broken by her actions of pouring milk on me and dismantling my ‘dinner party’. I became a bobbing head; meaningless, monotonous and irrelevant in the status of the rest of the work. By Adriana ‘taking hold of the space’ as a black female (in an environment constructed to be oppressive and racist) being uncompromising, matter-of-fact and then dismissive, she ended in the position of power in the work, while my character was left weak and meaningless. I think that Me-eat-ology Interrupted. became a subversive work in which Adriana disrupted an oppressive space through the use of her own body and body-politics.
About the work she wrote: The solution was to eliminate myself from it, but it turned out impossible. So I just became angry. “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive… Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” –– Adriana Jamisse with quote from Audre Lorde
Images: Alessandra Griffin