Teresa Satta

born in Varese, Italy, in 1993.

I’m interested in the process and the fragmentary.
I wonder the precarious building, the need of a roof over our head, of food and company, and the nomadic contemporary way of living and loving.

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Yo era tu y nunca lo supe
I was you and I never knew it

2017 


drawings and collage on paper, text
various sizes




The body is a map, a store of events, a perceived image, splitted
between being and awareness of being, effect of the social
mirror.
Trough the others we take care of create idols, perpetuate
styles, wear symbols, enacting meanings that comes from ages
of iconographic constructions; those define our way to relate
ourselves to reality. Nothing seem to happen in the “real”
world, if it does not appear in our minds as an image.
Sailing trough memories, the text ponits out how my body was
influenced and defined by the visual since I was a baby.
Which images it tries to looks like, which models does it conciously or
inconciously emulate, how does it struggle to became feminine?
The text come with six drawings and collages imagining an
alternative iconography.
As Linda McDowell, I asks myself: what would be about any body if it would be existed anywhere else, affected by other visual resources?
What if iconography of the body would have been constructed differently?
How does the body has been constructed? Which is the relationship between carnality and identity?
Who am I? What did shaped my body since I was a baby?
Ogni corpo è una mappa, deposito di avvenimenti, immagine percepita, sdoppiato tra l’essere e la coscienza di essere, effetto dello specchio sociale.
Attraverso “gli altri” ci impegnamo a generare simulacri, perpetuare stili, anteporre simboli che emanano significati radicati in un pensiero costruito nei secoli; essi determinano il nostro modo di relazionarci alla realtà, dato che nulla apparentemente accade nel mondo “reale” senza che sia prima immagine nella nostra mente.
Il testo è un percorso a ritroso nella mia memoria, esso esplora come le immagini abbiano influenzato e definito il mio corpo, a partire dal primo ricordo infantile, passando attraverso l’oggi, sino ad ad immedesimarmi nel corpo di mia madre.
A quali immagini il mio corpo cerca di rassomigliare? Quali modelli emula? In che modo si sforza di apparire femminile?
Come Linda McDowell mi chiedo: che cosa ne sarebbe stato di un corpo se fosse esistito da qualunque altra parte, influenzato da altre risorse visive?
Qual’è la relazione tra identità e carnalità?
Chi sono io? Come è stato formato il mio corpo da che sono piccina?

Accanto al testo, disegni e collage provano ad immaginare un’iconografia altrernativa.





I.

My very first aknowledgement about the gender was with my brothers during bath time.
I do not exactly remember when I realized what does it mean femenine
and masculine.
At four I used to have short hair and play with my brothers and cousins at “the war”, as well as we all used to play with dolls (even though war was always somehow involved).
What we really loved was to build stuff, inventing stories around it. I never felt a radical difference between my own desires, my feelings, my strenght, and theirs. Differences may lay in small irrelevant details, that I wasn’t even minding, which never made me feel different from them, any less valiant, slower, weaker or defensless. On the contrary, I was feeling the bravest.
I do not exactly remember when I realized that dolls were a “girlish” toy and boys do not like “girlish” toys: they don’t like to dress up puppies and to take care of them, not even to play with pots and pans, they don’t like the pink colour, neither love, or princesses, they do not have long hair, they do not wear make up, nor paint their nails, they never wear skirts - I loved them! - or flower patterned clothes. They don’t care about flowers and beauty in general.
Except for the pipitino and the pipitina - I had no shame whatsoever in showing mine, really - those “irrelevant” details were the only differences between
femenine
and masculine.



II.

One day my mom took me to the hairdresser. I was 5 years old and my hair was short. I asked the hairdresser: Can you make my hair longer? Like Walt Disney’s princesses. She laughed, and my hair got shorter.
At six I started going to artistic gymnastics courses, like all the girls in the school did. There they taught me to be graceful, to be elastic. When I was 9 my mom accompanied me to pierce my ears.
All the objects for girls were pink and shiny; all the objects for boys were blue.
The aprons for girls were pink and white; those for boys were blue and black.
My older brother and I had the same suitcase, with no cartoons or drawings. Mine black, his blue.
All the school accessories were differentiated for boys and girls, as the cartoons were, even though at the beginning we used to watch the same ones.
Until I was 10 years old I swam with my brothers.
At 11 I used to wear male clothes, my breasts were growing and I wanted to hide them.
At 12 I bought my first female shirt and started to wear more tight clothes like my classmates did; they asked me why I did not shave my legs, my eyebrows, my groin. For the first time I felt I had something bad in my body, something I had to remove. I was very embarrassed; no one spoke to me about these things before. The same friends helped me to get pretty.
I started shaving and doing my makeup; my uncle didn’t like my make up, my grandma appreciated it a lot.
One day I bought a shirt from the market – if I think about it now, it was really nothing special – but it was very tight and showed part of my shoulders. The school principal scolded me and told me that it was inappropriate, in that school this “kind of attitude” wasn’t accepted. I felt very bad, and I didn’t really understood which was the problem at the time. Now I know that I was sexy with that shirt, even if at the time I didn’t really know what the word “sexy” did truly mean.
Someone – everyone – taught me that girls cannot sit with their legs opened, boys can. Girls have to walk graciously, talk softly, eat elegantly, be more perfumed, blink in a certain way, laugh with grace and always be beautiful.
At 13 I told my mum I would have liked to play rugby or football, but I was told that this would damage my silhouette by strengthening the muscles of my legs and arms, so I did ice skating, volleyball, rowing, swimming instead and, as I wasn’t that much into it, I ended up at 16 going to the gym to burn fat.
My butt was always too big for the standard anyways.
I cannot count how many times people called me culona. When they used to call me this way, in my family or outside of it, even when it was in a loving way, I suffered a lot. This thing stressed me so much that I ended up following any kind of diet. I started dressing in black to hide the shapes of my body; I used to put only clothes that covered my “huge butt” so others could not look or comment, and wore very tight jeans to contain it.
I still check it back in the mirror, I still avoid to feel it.



III.

One day I was working with some black girls in a restaurant, and one of them said to me: You such a little one but with a great woman's butt. My butt was a sign of sisterhood to them.
More than once they told me in Colombia: What a strong butt you have.
Strong, not big: strong. Of a great woman.
My body has been determined by an image that the others used to see in me.
My body ceased to be just the body it has been during my first childhood, and it began to be a simulacrum, a field of action, an unconscious performative object of repeated gestures and customs, a resembling process.
My body mirrored and drunk.
My body frustrated and cursed by images.
Hair removal, excess fat, skin imperfections, thin muscles, defined abs, hair combed, style, movements, posture, the way of walking, make-up, white smile, homologation maybe.
We internalize images without realizing it, without even knowing that these are images of gestures by performative and someone else’s postures.
What is around mi affects me and shapes me unequivocally, without the need for words or specific orders; it is sufficient other’s attitude to move my body in a consequential way.
I lost my own power, I reduced my voice, I turned down my light.



IV

Now I am thinking of the figure of my mother. This woman who had five children in the womb and on her back, who never thought about her career but rather being a good mother and a good wife, who gave all her life to the home since she was married.
It's four o'clock in the morning, I cannot sleep anymore; thoughts twist in my stomach and take away my sleep. I do not remember the last time I could sleep quietly, the last time I had a nice dream or that my husband hugged me on the left side of the bed, the last time I told him about my own wishes. Do I have some?
Five children, not one orgasm, not a little or a fright of pleasure saw these clean sheets, that match the curtains, ironed with love.
It doesn’t matter, I never cared about this... I don’t care, I’m not that much into this kind of stuff.
My body is old now and exhausted.
This man who snores at my side and I used to love with all my soul, with my whole being, with my whole body.
I cannot imagine my life without him, I cannot remember the last time he looked at me with love. I get up, to kill the time I put the clothes in the washing machine. I clean the glasses that someone left on the table the past night, the kitchen still smells of cigarette. I hate when people smoke inside, nobody give a damn about it.
I cannot claim anything from my husband, but what about my sons! They know that I don’t want them to smoke in the kitchen! No one listens to me, I have to shout desperately: do not leave your things everywhere! And you! Go organize your room! Do not walk without shoes! Prepare the table! Hey, hurry! Study!
Am I just this for them? Am I a vomit of orders? Of reproaches? Everyone hates me, disrespects me. When did I become the evil-queen of this home? I feel transparent; condemned to an incessant work that no one respects or even appreciates...
For them, this is a mom. This is a wife. Isn’t it?
I prepare a cappuccino with lots of milk. It's already half past five. The washing machine has just finished. I hang the clothes. Somebody just got up. Buongiorno. Buongiorno. Few words. Oh God – I think – I love them so much.
If they do not clean the breakfast dishes I’ll kill them, I’ll seriously kill them.
It's seven in the morning and I'm already nervous, anxious, tired. I dress, do my makeup, eat two cookies and go to work.
It's seven in the morning of any day, of any year. I do not remember the last time I did something for myself, just for myself.
In the end I think: What would be (the value of) a life that is not given for the others?




V.

One other feminine icon is the Virgin.
A woman without sexuality, without any exaggerated facial features.
A woman without a body, a mother without penetration.
A body beyond worldly understanding, but still body.
A look that doesn’t look at your body, as it doesn’t belong to the body. Eyes emanating a kind of love that cannot be consumed.
A kind of love that doesn’t make the difference between male and female, as it doesn’t know sexuality.
Mother of her son – god – that was made body, flesh, pain, feeling, hunger, thirst, muscles, organs, mortality.
Without sex.
Did they lost it on the way?
I found myself between two opposite force fields: society of images that pushes on the body essence, and some moral wake that just as easily avoid corporeality, nudity, sexual urges, the desire to be looked at.
I discover that I was you and I never knew it.
Mine and your body is the core of the perceptive point of view, trough which we can face the world, interact, relate, transform, migrate, communicate.



Full text in spanish