The Spider’s Stratagem

This performance stems from my interest in Tarantism, an ancient Southern Italian ritual which gave cultural meaning to the suffering of women constrained by poverty, lack of education and the rigid codes of feminine conduct. Their act of muted rebellion could be performed and assuaged only by turning suffering and anguish self-destructively against their own body in the form of cathartic dance. The action, a complex politics of power,  in which the Tarantate tried to both assimilate and expel the spider’s venom, flirting with and then subverting the dynamic of domination as, within it, alterity is neither totally incorporated nor completely exorcised.

The Spider’s Stratagem is my interpretation of a ‘tarantella’ and likewise depicts a sequence of possession, movement, and release. The catharsis that the performer achieves while the audience becomes the ring of supporters that completes the ritual.

21/03/14  Pure Performance Festival – TriSpace Gallery

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