This Space Is Too Small For Our Bodies

Paris 2023

Photos: Janine Schranz

Object photos: Johannes Stoll 

The paper is my skin, filled with muscles, bones and organs folded on top of each other in a supposedly logical order that has been given to me. My body is a space. Here I negotiate the dissolution of boundaries, norms and binary of a body that wants to live by its own rules. In the process I cut the tissue and dissect myself to many unique parts. With deep cuts, I simultaneously detach the bond to my earlier self. This separation is existentially important to me, it relieves me of dependencies and urges. When I cut, I feel less pain ; it is rather a fascination of complex connections in my physical body and the possibility to stretch and modify them. 

In the process of the artist residence Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, I experimented with the idea of attaching the new forms I had developed in terms of my body in an object-like form,. This way Bodyshop actually becomes a living being that conceives its own anatomy, dresses it, temporarily releases different parts and puts them back together  differently. It is a performative act, and a basic principle of queer  fluid body that feels free, safe and loved. Here I demonstrate against forced hetero normative patriarchal structures and celebrate diversity, beauty and uniqueness of otherness. 

This Space Is Too Small For Our Bodies - Five paper objects, cardboard, pencils and ribbons, Paris 2023

This Space Is Too Small For Our Bodies is a conflict related to queer bodies and spaces in which we do not move freely. The architecture in our societies is both historically and contemporarily long diseased by racist patriarchal practices that dominate to this day and thus oppress other identities.

I question institutional practices that claim and promote inclusion and diversity in their own programs, but whose inner structures are persistently patriarchal, violent, and racist. Diverse identity becomes an institutional capital, hospitality becomes an economic mechanism that exhausts itself. These Spaces call themselves inclusive, radical, sensitive, or even queer. Except for the low-paid workers and a few individual cases, I see no other diversity in these houses. I experience again and again that our temporary hospitality is asymmetrical and not sustainable. Here I would like to actively propose new ideas and strategies of fair cooperation. One of the most important concepts is an intensive collaboration for fair chances for those who are not included in the dialogue, whose voices are not heard. If I am to entrust the knowledge and experience of my community to an institution, we must carefully negotiate to use these voices not only expediently. This is also, for my part, one of the most important critical points practiced by the institutional side, as well as by artistic positions. We are the ones who have the important tools, so we have a responsibility for those who cannot use them.

Art spaces and their practices are either totally ignorant, or they prize diversity because they prize themselves for rebuilding an institution with strong statements to society. They become inclusive, open, and queer. We become a part of their programs, limited in time and content. Their dominant power positions are at the same time never questioned, the power remains the same, only presented with a different touch of „understanding“.

I argue for open negotiation spaces that we create together and take care of them in a sustainable way. These spaces are without barriers. Leadership positions form a collective body whose responsibility is to regularly exchange and share this position with others. These spaces must elaborate on the concepts of sustainability, care, and ecology. Artistic positions must urgently get away from the Genius concept, because this divides us, separates us from each other and thus art becomes disconnected, mute and deaf. Let's break the fortress of the art institutions together and sketch new ones. Let's make friends, be curious and get involved. There are many others, from whom we can learn.