Mary Szydłowska — SOAK
A performance that questions the hierarchies of cleanliness while sucking euhm vacuum-cleaning the patriarchy.
"To clean the world from patriarchy and from all the pollution of the world."
"Cleaning can be seen and experienced as a deeply subversive practice. One which allows to take over control of spaces we share, slowly breaking patriarchal patterns."
"What if the cleaning I am doing, is foreseeing the future? What if the cleaning I am doing - is the future itself?"
"What if a broom stick is a weapon ?" — Mary Szydłowska
> read the interview
The invisibilisation of labour and bodies is intrinsic to the structural capitalism and patriarchy we are living in. Often we enter spaces that are clean but we hardly ever witness the process that is related to the act of cleaning. This dance performance dives into notions of care, hygiene and maintenance.
SOAK works as a continuous gesture carried out through an empty space of a dance studio or a theatre. Leaning towards and away from its function and efficacy, SOAK insists on its own duration and care. Mary Szydłowska’s body dissolves right behind it and performs a disappearing while the peripheral elements of the space move into the centre and reveal its raw features.
SOAK is a solo work in search of the questions on hygiene as ideology and hierarchies of orders happening in the spaces we work and live in. Considering maintenance as resistance, it wishes to wash off a patriarchal understanding of care work and reminds us that cleaning is never done.
language no problem
Mary Szydłowska is a Brussels based choreographer and performer of Polish origins. Her work feeds on the notions of the peripheral, withdrawn and invisible, followed within architectural spaces, institutional environments and marginalised fields of labour. She works with objects, fabrics and hand gestures as means for creating attention limbos. Her work expands towards sculpture and installations, in which she performs. In 2020 and 2021 she made a diptych of solos SOAK and LEAKS, as a part of her research on cleaning and maintenance practices. A great part of Mary’s work sets itself in the context of contemporary art exhibitions and museum spaces. She created performances and performative guided tours at MoMA in Warsaw (2018-19), Centrale.lab for Contemporary Art in Brussels (2019) and KANAL.Centre Pompidou in Brussels. Her WORKS on WORKS series is based a long-term developed practice of a lickerish way of art and other artists consumption, presented as a layered performative medium. In 2021 she graduated from MA STUDIOS programme for dance makers at P.A.R.T.S.. She holds MA degree in cultural studies (Jagiellonian University in Cracow).
concept, choreography & performance: Mary Szydlowska, made in conversation with Volmir Cordeiro, external eye support & sculptures: Maria Kley, external eye support: Tessa Hall, research support: Estefanía Álvarez Ramírez, video: Marie Dubus, Lila Poimboeuf-Mahieu, photo: Margarida Marques Ramalhete
created in the frame of the master programme STUDIOS at P.A.R.T.S.