Exercising the phantom limb


The phantom limb is the sensation that an amputated or missing limb is still attached to the body and is moving appropriately with other body parts. It is a limb that the rest of the body usually refuses to accept. In the social body of a nation the phantom limb is considered to be what is different, sick, foreign and reactionary. It is this part of the society which the State wishes to control.


– I embodied two figures that clash between each other: the oppressor and the resistant.

– I gave orders to myself and I replied instantaneously.

– Gradually, the coordination between my voice and my body faded out.


The oppressor is understood as the forces of oppression such as the police, the coastguard, the army, and the paramilitary groups. The resistant understood as the people who oppose the oppressors and continue to hope to a change: protestors, activists and immigrants. Language imposes itself to control the body; the voice orders, the body obeys to orders ‘…Hands up, mi milas (don’t speak)… ‘. Voice imperative, movements sharp and aggressive. The co-existence of the two figures proclaims violence; the insistence and the repetition announce a painful process. The exhaustion and the expected break down of the performer’s body question if a possibility for the co-existence of the two figures is feasible. The gesture of the Nazi’s salutation is used repeatedly. Yet, the body of the resistant disobeys and the salutation becomes a fist raised up in the air. The gesture that ‘hands up’ suggests transforms the visual sign of surrender into one of political resistance. Solidarity and resistance are called in the fore.




The scenography consists of a board, made out of sailcloth, which is positioned in the center of the space resembling a banner used in demonstrations. It works in two ways: first, it contains the choreography of the performance, the orders and the initial responses described with words and symbols, which allows the public to relate to the performer. Second, it contains all the previous occasions for which the performance has taken place, creating a memoryscape that connects the different events of injustice and violence that have happened worldwide, but also the struggles that fight against them. The sailcloth is a landmark for the common struggles that happened, are happening and are to come.


Occasions for which the performance has taken place:


– The struggle in Palestine (2014). Exercising the 15th Limb.

– The hunger strike of Nikos Romanos, Greece (2014). Exercising the 27th Limb, for the 27 days of hunger strike.

– The chocking of Eric Garner, the US (2015), Exercising the 11th Limb, for the 11 times Eric Garner said ‘I can’t breath’.

– The death of the immigrants who attempt to cross the EU borders, Exercising the 29th Limb, for the 29th State that is considered to be the immigrants who try to enter the 28 States of the EU, (Upcoming).



NGBK | BERLIN | 2014


Performance duration: varied (maximum: 27 min)

Video duration: 3:00 min