MY BODY –
MY ONLY LIMIT?
When we are born, we are determined by our genetic code, gender, race, and mental predispositions. Is there room for change and shifting boundaries in such given features? If that space exists, where is it located?
Who is allowed to approach us and how can that individual approach us and enter our personal space? We all have several safe zones around us and let a person come closer or keep them further away depending on the situation and our relationship with them. The boundary of intimate space is the result of individual decisions and cultural context. Our body is our first boundary toward others.
She / he
Observing it through the cultural scope of our tradition: pink is for girls and blue is for boys? Dresses are for women, pants for men? How does society react when we ignore stereotypes and break down those mental boundaries? Not so long ago, there was a clear division between public space belonging to a man and the private space of one’s home primarily belonging to a woman. That is how society emphasized gender identity, thus influencing both the upbringing and the relationship between a woman and a man.
Unfortunately, this boundary is still partially present in our society today. Some media continue to reinforce gender stereotypes by promoting principles contrary to gender equality, thus encouraging the formation or consolidation of existing discriminatory attitudes and patterns of behavior. Does every instance of breaking down boundaries as products of social norms constitute an anomaly?
Girls from Srdoči Public School, Rijeka, 1912/1913
Boys from Srdoči Public School, Rijeka, 1912/1913
First-graders visiting the Museum, Rijeka, 1959
Razor blade, Bismarck razor works, Solinger, first half of the 20th century
Fan, second half of the 19th century
A lady and a gentleman, Ivan Standl, Zagreb, around 1865
Do human races exist at all?
The concept of human race originated in the late 16th century when colonizers attempted to categorize people based on their physical appearance – skin color, hair texture, facial features, or eye shape. They wanted to specify those who do not look like “us” with the intention of making them less valuable. The notion of race has crept into human consciousness and has caused a number of extremely negative consequences such as slavery, wars, ethnic cleansing, and genocide throughout history.
However, the development of biogenetics lead to the conclusion that the concept of race is not biologically valid and the idea of races among humans was abandoned. Mankind, HOMO SAPIENS, is the only human species, rich and diverse. Can our humanity overcome prejudice, and can we simply become us?
The two of us, E. S. D., around 1906
Racial origin statement form, Independent State of Croatia, 28 December 1942
Statment about racial affiliation, Zagreb 1942
Žak Valenta – Magdalena Lupi Alvir:
Production: Gradsko kazalište lutaka Rijeka
Director: Žak Valenta
Playwright: Magdalena Lupi Alvir
Composer: Marin Alvir
Scene and costumes: Luči Vidanović
Lighting designer: Sanjin Seršić
Performed by: Alex Đaković and Petra Šarac
The show “My Body” by the Rijeka City Puppet Theater is primarily envisaged as an educational and pedagogic project for children of all ages, from kindergarten to high school, but for adults as well.
The author’s intention is to use musical and dance elements that partly remind of a musical in a modern and innovative manner to encourage young and old viewers to get to know and become aware of their bodies, “that beautiful and perfect apparatus that nature has given us”. It also encourages them to explore and re-examine the differences between boys and girls, is it really dreadful if boys wear tights in winter and if girls have boyish haircuts – traumas that we all remember from childhood although we are all well aware that it has always been that way. In the first part we “assemble” the bodies of boys and girls, in the second part we dress them and impose social roles on them, and in the third we deconstruct everything and conclude the show with a happy ending, with song and dance.