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In Conversation with Evarisstti


digital images, cloth sculpture

Shown in Tufts Women's Center Our Selves virtual exhibition, April 2021.

In 2000, Marco Evaristti’s “Helena & El Pescador” sparked an animal rights controversy that eclipsed the exhibition’s essential conversation about gender. As part of this exhibition, goldfish were placed in blenders and the audience was given the opportunity to turn the blenders on. As household kitchen items, blenders are traditionally feminine tools. “Helena” utilized this tool for destruction as an opposition to the assumption that femininity is submissive and weak. The audience of Helena gets divided into three categories: Sadists, who turn on the blenders; Voyeurs, who want to watch the goldfish get blended; and Moralists, who are outraged at the existence of this piece. These terms all have sexual connotations that force the viewer to consider the exhibition as a euphemism.

“In Conversation with Evaristti” is a series of photographs of a cloth sculpture worn on the head. They ask the audience to consider the view of femininity that Evaristti presents in “Helena”, where women are day-to-day sexual objects that can become dangerous. In an age of online pornography and sex positivity, everyone must consider the line between sexual expression and self-objectification. When is femininity, provocativity, and sex work, empowering - transgressing the traditional feminine narrative - and when is it degrading?

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