Here it’s good to forget what you think you know and let yourself be guided…by questions, by visible and invisible mothers, by children and by your body.
I was often accused of falling outside the system. The project was born from this search for meaning outside the rules, outside the imposed norms and ended up touching a core so deep in me and others that every person in the audience felt shaken, questioned, and stimulated. And this happened because of the strength of the [M]others collective.
This project has given way to many tears. That’s how Alexandra’s dream came true, she wanted to create public spaces where people could cry.
Mothers and daughters of the project
“We raise you in the air because you were moulded in your mother’s clay womb by the Great One…Blessed you were born…A blessing to us all.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes in the Blessing of the Blessed Mother
Alexandra Bălașoiu and I initiate each project only if it moves the social status-quo, if it crosses borders and if it is shared with the public. I, Italian, air zodiac sign, can only break boundaries, wherever I am. Alexandra, an earth sign, achieves what she thinks. We held tightly to all these desires, to which was added the need to create moments of contemplation, of slowing down time. Neuroscience and spiritual schools show us that only by slowing down, and calming the flow of unconscious thought, can we come to feel a creative part of the world. So we wanted so-called spaces sensuum-lab, the laboratories of the senses– to experience tactility and craftsmanship, kinesthesia, taste and smell, listening, drawing. We were joined by Mădălina Dan, a choreographer with productions in the country and abroad, with experience in participatory works and medical contexts, with an important social impact, and a watchful eye throughout the process. And from February 2022, Ivana Ivkovic, a renowned Croatian playwright, who has been working in contemporary performances with dance companies for two decades, joined us and got excited. With Oana Băluța, visual artist and performer, I researched the resonances between mother and matter, the primary connection between the mother being and the earth, where layers of information are composed and decomposed, the mother earth that gives birth and roams. I used the hand that manipulates separately from the eye that creates its own categories, which are separate from touch. I experienced a hand that, manipulating the clay, pushes, strokes, hits, stretches, breaks, compresses the still informal matter.
Teodora Moroșanu, our rockstar who didn’t enjoy improvising and trying our contemporary movements, has exceeded her limits! He composed live throughout rehearsals and the show and got to practice with us. She created the hypnotic sound of three different spaces. Without problems, her psychotherapist says that this project worked like therapy.
Diana Spiridon, with the dance of frozen eyebrows, was the embodiment of Francis Bacon’s portraits, no one, except her, managed to interpret ten moods at once with her face. From now on it will be named the spiritual daughter of Francis of Romania.
Loredana Larionescu was the perfect dance therapist, bringing people back into their hearts. She was the queen of the womb and the body with the most beautiful lipstick in the [m]others team.
There were two daughters of the project: my daughter, Silvia Niculae, magical for her transformative powers. The one who enters 2021 as a video artist and transforms in 2022 into a scenographer and performer. She managed to coalesce around us architecture students and volunteer photographers and fought hard to build an enclosed micro-space within the larger space. I called him the womb – of strong intimacy, where women can tell stories and where Loredana Larionescu listens to them. The second daughter is Laura Murariu, my student from UNATC who arrived in the rehearsal room to learn how to work and has stayed with us ever since. Laura brought a surplus of creativity, horror stories about giving birth upside down and dropping the baby. Now he will go to Brussels, to Parts but he promised us that he will tell the choreographer Anne Therese de Keersmaeker about us. Silvia leaves for Paris. Any mother understands leaving the nest.
Ira Merzlichin is still fighting – in the true sense of the word – to give birth to the documentary film. Who Said All Babies Are Born On Term? Like a nurse full of patience, we also wait for this cub of Mothers.
Cristina Ispas enlivened, loved and managed the project together with Alexandra Bălășoiu. She, I honestly tell you, danced the best with her tongue, I have the video proof!
Meanwhile, sensum-lab from 2021 has turned into six micro-workshops, scattered in three different spaces: Hand and eye, Tongue and mouth, Kinesthesia, Birth story, Letting your sound, Drawing and drawing your body shape.
Any story about motherhood is lightning fast – Alexandra’s neologism – of unforeseen things: I got injured, and Alexandra works with two bodies and hearts. But at least I’m here to write our story.
What does it mean to be supported?
July 2022: during this period I am an external witness of the rehearsals. My eyes watch from the outside, with distance, the process that I experienced a few months before from the inside. My body, more fragile than ever, is recovering, and all the other mothers and daughters are supporting me. Alexandra took over most of my tasks.
I am in the hall where I look at the space, time and energy of bodies with simultaneity: mothers and daughters can be children and animals at the same time. Through their tissues, I feel how beings co-exist in the same body, smell each other, and embrace each other.
Moving [M]others or moving the consciousnesses of the people around us
We were guided by the question – What does motherhood mean for each of us? – What does the motherhood that I saw in my mother, my grandmother mean? “The egg that gave birth to me was in my mother’s womb when she was in her mother’s womb.”[Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen] We must be aware that we mothers exist in a different temporality, a mind that embraces many things at once and becomes emotionally confused. Moving [M]others respects and considers our emotions, discerning the maternal affective map.
How do we move consciousness?
We moved and talked a lot about the experience of motherhood and found the following unifying words. They also generated most of the performative moments: non-self, total openness, community, life and death, timelessness, exhaustion, dissolution, food/survival, birth and being born, embrace, support and supported, impulse, touch, weight, role confusion, involution, dignity, forgetting , aging, feeling catalyst, total transformation.
I felt like I opened a multiverse and that this transformation had to be reawakened, brought back to the surface and lived through various means. We then began to move consciousness through a lot of physicality, foreign to us, impulsive, almost animalistic, very close to pure, liberating force. But also searching a paradoxically opposite movement: Sensitive, imperceptible. In 2021 we created the laboratories where we invited to move our grandparents, parents and children. I embodied their bodies.
In 2022, every artist in the collective held workshops sharing your practice. I moved the skin, which stored the memories of early touches. Then we gave each other keywords. The fathers of the project moved us with the sounds of the instruments. I drew and coloured my unconscious body image. We departed from personal stories as we moved, let them flow as if they were bits of the unconscious that when told together generated new meaning.
De-censorship or Blue Language
Without realizing it, everything you see is driving her crazy… and emotionally.
During the [M]others labs we relived like our children, the suspension of judgment, the de-censure, not taking ourselves too seriously, the game of being someone other than ourselves, the imperfection. I have unleashed a new power in the body and in words. A motor intelligence of the child that is beyond any limitation, any convention. This daring body and mind allowed us to jump from one system to another, to unchain the references, the connections between body and language, the benchmarks of what is right and what is wrong.
I worked a lot on personal boundaries: for me, language and nationality were big obstacles to being accepted and integrated into many native circles.
I used the language in several poses, in the performance I used it very concretely as the first “hidden” organ that extends into space.
THE BLUE LANGUAGE has become that plurisemantic place of survival, of food, of communication, of pleasure, of power, of censorship, of freedom, of transforming a space that from external becomes internal, of language, of rebellion, of play.
So Moving [M]others, by letting go of language, also let go of my story, because for me this project was primarily about a de-censoring of the body and stereotypical forms of relating.
It was extremely difficult for me to adapt and become a mother in Romania, it seemed to me that the world of adults interacts with children imposing many inhibiting rules, rules that had also blinded them when they were, in turn, small.
I’m even talking about movement restrictions, such as sitting still in a chair at an early age, then rules of behaviour, speech – “behave nicely!”, “speak nicely!”, “say the poem with perfect diction, without or with a fake smile on his face!” Everything is so perfect that when children become teenagers and their brains are full of emotions, they neither recognize nor control them. So that these perfect teenagers with a totally unknown inner world, I’m just going crazy.
Affected bodies or how not to go crazy
The performers’ bodies show us imperfect, limited, sometimes total, phagocytic embraces and contacts that create gestures and bodies of affects.
The child’s fingers caress then grab and squeeze the skin and clothes of the mothers, heavy and dilated beings that provide support, they are reborn in upside-down positions, until they lift maternal bodies that demand to feel the lightness of the being.
I researched the mother-son-daughter relationship starting from the first form of communication, the bodily one, observing how memories of the feeding, the looks, the touches, and the tonality of the voice of the one who took care of him remain imprinted in the child. And these concrete relational experiences affect the entire future cognition of the child. That is why for us [M]others, the first mother-child learning is that through which the tongue looks for food, the eye touches, the hand caresses and caresses and the skin looks for contact and quietness.
And if that didn’t happen, we rewrite the story now together, we dance it.
For us [M]others, hard and traumatic words take on physicality and soothe. Support, strength, sacrifice, exhaustion become a constellation of bodies…we move supporting each other. A movement of a mother/daughter reverberates throughout the architecture of bodies. It is only important to listen and meet any unpredictable action.
From the initial map to the archipelago
January-March 2022: Before we started rehearsals together with Alexandra we created a map of possibilities, a rhizome from which several directions were born. Then I discussed it with Ivana. First of all we wanted to capture and recapture the significant moments from the 2021 residencies: the sheer physicality of falling/collapsing/crushing, the de-censoring from the tongue and body disarticulation moment, the support, the birth, the bodies with desire from Bad Girls.[aici impulsul devenea erotic și expresiile faciale aparțineau trecutului nostru zoologic] In 2022, we planned many new things, written on the map:
- biological level: mandible, lips and the sucking reflex, pelvis, tongue and consequently embrace, feed, receive, be a slow egg, create an open space
- autobiographical level: the workshops held by each mother in the project by body tracing, of rhythm, of touchesBody, of motion, of clay. Every mother should use texts as a source of inspiration
- participatory, community level, to give dignity to any age and body by touching, by listening, by drawing, by dancing
Each workshop itself, whether it started from sound, drawing, touch or movement, included like a hologram the other practices so that at each workshop there was writing, drawing, movement, speaking, but in a different order.
The interdisciplinary practices became contaminated, sometimes they overlapped through a logic of their own, creating over time and through continuous repetitions a story of the whole. In general, all moments, whether group or solo, have been transformed and layered through multiple internal tasks.
So the islands created an archipelago that responds to a new logic, a logic of affects, which looks like the layers where things are not one, but several at once, that there is not just one sense, one thought but a symphony of senses, of thoughts , where there is not one emotion, but several.
What we [M]others do is perform this explosive Molotov: our thoughts, behaviour patterns, beliefs, emotions, physicality, and intentions.
All this has been studied, embodied, crystallized and performed in front of the public and then by the public itself.
All this has been studied, embodied, crystallized and performed in front of the public and then by the public itself. The stories of the birth begin, with the witches, the good and the bad mother, with the daughter who, out of desperation, falls down with the vacuum cleaner. Everything takes on a sometimes liberating dimension, sometimes freezes, sometimes downright compressed, because we become our emotions, all over the face, all over the body. They open our flesh.
And I forgot Deleuze!
Do you remember the rhizome with multiple directions of a thought that jumps from one code to another, of bodies of desire? In Moving [M]others, Deleuze would happily relive his childhood!
The Mothers Archipelago has become hypnotic, where such off-centered and simultaneous places help you center better, because from every angle you look, you see them all and they all change, they never stay the same. The whole experience feels like a Buddhist monk’s mandala meditation!
Here you can laugh and cry at the same time, you can get confused, you can calm down because we are here for you. With you we share the highs and lows of motherhood, sprinkled with humor, chaos, unpredictability, adaptation, Aucouturier, Francis Bacon and Deleuze.
You will notice how each mother does at least five things at once, that is, we are all multi-tasking, a term that is splendidly associated with the speedoman sperm we don’t have. That is, we take care of others, but also work, listen, but also self-educate, take children to various activities, shop, play tennis while cooking, and read Deleuze.
We are that visceral cocktail where philosophy and biology mingle with mysticism, where we give birth, give birth in turn, and are reborn, in total self-opening and dissolution. In the process, what we feel becomes visible through the unfolding of our flesh. And this motherhood of flesh that opens up to the world, leads us into the loss of identity, psychic and bodily limits.
This motherhood then acquires the sense of freedom, where we abolish the categories of “good mother, bad mother” to create a world of affections, of all affections between me and the other.
The maternal, for us [M]others, is the embodiment of the laws of chaos, beyond reason, of a linearity of mind, which brings a “metanoia” – “a transformation of our whole.”
And “All This” can be tried by you…to feel the connections between the skin, the first touches, body and mind, without censorship.
And who has the courage now…to stick out his tongue!
An Indie Box project. Cultural project co-financed by the National Cultural Fund Administration. The project does not necessarily represent the position of the National Cultural Fund Administration. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how the results of the project may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.