Body Troubles

‘Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable’ – Cesar A. Cruz

There are still many countries and places where the body of vulnerable groups are constantly subjected to rejection, suppression, erasure, misrepresentation or appropriation. Body Troubles refers to bodies that are in trouble and at the same time, cause troubles for oppressive systems. Body Troubles invites artists and activists who are BIPOC, queer, minoritised or marginalised, and whose body and creative expressions are at risk of being censored, appropriated or whitewashed. The idea is to create a space where they can bring up issues that most of us have been socialised to ignore or deny, for fear of discrimination and judgement. Body Troubles focuses mainly on artistic works that employ the body as a tool and performance as a strategy for resistance, reclaiming or rebelling, as well as, to start a transformational and healing process, awakening in us the interconnectedness of our struggles and humanity.

In Body Troubles, we are called to create a “brave space” where we accept the likelihood that we might be uncomfortable or disturbed when issues of race, privilege, and oppression and our complicity in them are brought up in the works. It requires us to have the courage to interrogate and challenge our own socialised paradigm that forms part of the system of subjugation and dehumanisation. It is committed to the vision of social justice for all and a decolonised, queer and feminist future.

Body Troubles takes place primarily on the online space, as it offers the possibility of resisting censorship from governments and at the same time, providing a platform to bring the works and messages of vulnerable groups to a wider audience. To ensure autonomy over its direction and operation, Body Troubles does not receive fundings from any government agencies, state institutions or commercial organisations. It is also a volunteer-led event, which means we are not able to provide an artist fee. However all donations for the presentation go directly to the artists or their organisations.

In Body Troubles, we work with these principles:

  • The body is a political tool.
  • Performance is a political strategy. 
  • Politics is the aesthetics, instead of aestheticising politics
  • Be political, instead of performing politics.
  • Work with failures and let them be the bedrock of our work

In keeping with the spirit of resistance, reclaiming and rebelling, the ability to self-organize, adapt fast and work with minimal resources is vital to Body Troubles. So artists are required to work with the following conditions:

  • Must have a computer, webcam and good Wifi connection. 
  • Keep the work raw, lo-fi, low-tech, adaptable, make-shift and mobile.
  • DIY, improvise and use what you have or can find.
  • Keep low to no budget.

Curation and organisation: Ming Poon