Two women are lying on the ground on one side, their faces to the floor and hands clasped behind. They wear navy blue overalls, like workers in a socialist factory. But their sandals are futuristic: a jagged boot sole and a fishnet front. In one corner of the scene, on a screen, you can see the robotized faces of the two protagonists, reduced to two “artificial sensibilities”, Fembot A.E. and Omnipresence. From a speaker, issues forth: that was before identification, that was before army, that was before probability, that was before application, that was before nostalgia, that was after nostalgia, that was after history, that was after working, that was after interface, that was before operating systems, that was before the body of Elena Ceaușescu, that was before karma, that was after theatre, that was before the body as a project hosted by Mădălina’s body, that was before device with emotion, that was after mothers, that was after energetic fields, that was after power, that was before DNA, that was before daughters, that was after hardwares, after technology, after healing, after bacterias, before scanning death.

Then, the bodies start to stretch, they get up slowly and the room is invaded by weeping, sobbing, muffled wailing, moans, onomatopoeic lamentations, whining and cries, while the bodies move robotically at times, ritually at others. They remind me of the mourners from Romanian villages. This is how Mothers of Steel begins, a contemporary dance performance by and with Mădălina Dan and Agata Siniarska (a Polish artist, founding member of Female Trouble, a three gal-collective set up in Berlin which deals with topics such as identity, feminism, and corporality).

Review by Cătălina Miciu for Scena 9.