Otilia‘s Enigma - producing the eastern feminine mystique

Performance and discussion in the frame of „Fucking Solidarity: queering concepts on/ from a Post-Soviet perspective“ 

possible with the support of:

Viktoria Pötzl for documenting my performance, Dani Baumgartner from Frauensolidarität Wien for all the support and to all the participants of the conference for allowing me to be part of the conversation 

The performance interrogated the mythical construction of cis-women eastern European bodies and affinities, using the tools of western beauty concepts and behavioral expectations.

The cosmetic and pornographic gaze appropriated through the new cultural invasion after the fall of communism (television, women’s magazine, pop culture, and nightclubs) was critically questioned. Selling/Promoting/Creating the ‘beautiful, but cheap’ brand will be seen in its ‘integrity’ as a heterotopic space in Romanian society, where through beauty – availability formula, access to a westernized lifestyle is granted.

Consuming the other only works if that other fits the phantasy of the other (heteronormative, patriarchal), in other words if it knows to play its role. In the performance, I worked with an inventory of beauty debris (tools to construct) from my personal archive, which will then be consumed (although nobody eats anymore!) in an attempt to create a body using the ‘mamaia style’ bible. Mamaia style being a touristic promotion campaign from 2014, promoting the Romanian seaside, through a sexist content, as a place where you ‘get what you want’, even if you have to ‘hunt it down’.

The ‘real women’, the good girls of the east. Projections of patriarchal concepts of femininity. Acting. Sexual role codes. Silicone and white teeth.  Silicone implants as bonus for a 3 year contract. Call today. Sure you would like to look good. Economic development dependent on you. Grooming industry. Pharmacy. Air traffic. The restaurant bills. Telecommunication and don’t forget to vote for the ‘traditional family’. The country thanks you for your service.  Black sea, big cities, programming industry, international hotel chains, massage parlors, clubs and Instagram. TV assistants. Prices go high…Class dynamic, escaping material and social conditions, projections of social phantasies and of course the success stories. Bianca.  An east side [street] story. You sure enjoy living the American dream. 24/7. Exclusions included. The parmacopornographic era on the ‘cosmopolitan’ ?Romanian? terrain where neoliberal policies are being ‘deflowered’ as we speak. Scripting national narratives. Insisting on heteronormativity. Assignment of roles. Politics and pimp politicians.

UPCOMING 2019: “Otilia’s enigma, notes on the performance” publication in the volume “Fucking solidarity: Western hegemonies and post-Soviet queer critique” in a special issue of the Feminist Critique Journal.