Outside of a luscious silky black tent I stand with no shoes on waiting to get in. The soundscape has an impending doom vibe to it and for a brief moment I have the feeling of being transported into an old horror movie. That feeling of excitement and longing to be a little scared or startled through the experience comes over me. Almost seeing my surroundings in black and white. I enter the tent or rather squeeze myself in through the close proximity of Amanda Apetrea and Halla Ólafsdóttir. They are welcoming dressed in capes and have painted on black and white faces of Rock history.
Inside there is a feeling of being in a graveyard or at a séance meeting full of lively people there to watch that sit down to face the altar adorned with candles. Coming from behind the two of them glide through the sea of people onto the altar. Their energy is quite electric. A ritual of sorts commences with chanting heads moving in tandem and blood running down their faces. Taking a turn towards the animalistic their blood red tongues start locking/licking.
At this point the feeling of voyeurism starts to kick in for me. I think that under any other circumstance I might be looking away but instead it captivates me.
From there we switch to an informal reading of what I would best describe as a darker and perhaps more grotesque version of the Vagina Monologues. The poems cut through the niceness and give us a taste of the beast. The beast with a sharp cheeky tongue loaded with humor. They take their pussies, human flesh and all kinds of emotions serving them to us on a platter and pushing them down our throats in the best possible way.
They shake, they shimmy everything they’ve got. Not to mention the head bangs.
Their presence throughout is fierce although they are not afraid of life happening inside of the work. If someone sneezes they are blessed by them. Reading of the texts are done in their own time in a human way (mistakes are allowed to occur) and nonchalant nudity handled with fierceness gives them an extra honest layer on top of everything else.
Nudity might not be the most shocking thing we see in theatres anymore but it still seems to shock in our society. Women being nude and owning their erotic self, playful self and displaying a more manly side still seems to provoke. Society tends to judge women for their physical features and appearance taking the focus too often from their other traits not visible from the outside. To underline this I made a small comparison of the words manly and womanly in the dictionary.
Manly as described in the dictionary:
having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage, strength, and spirit.
Womanly as described in the dictionary:
relating to or having the characteristics of a woman or women.
”her smooth, womanly skin”
This comparison underlines to me how we are still thinking in our society. The man is defined by his qualities within and encouraged to push the boundaries but the woman is defined by her skin and other materialistic attributes encouraged to act like a lady. Although this is perhaps becoming less present it still exists. I don’t know if it was Amanda’s and Halla’s exact intention to evoke these feelings within me but they did. They woke up the feminist the egalitarian. They owned every erotic part of their display and they did it in a manly/womanly way.
I feel a sense of freedom in what they have offered and can’t help but to connect it to the women around the world who are freeing nipples and dropping the shame that has haunted them in the past. The women that have been fighting to take ownership of their femininity, breasts, vaginas and all else “woman”. Displaying these parts how they wish and not making any excuses.
Which is exactly what the two of them do towards the end they make no excuses ending with an erotic trans like ceremony where the wine flows on the altar through them and finally to us leaving us in the tent with a sense of communion and sharing.
Árný Rún Árnadóttir