The Amazing Flabby-Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales
An online live performance, written and directed by Ayesha Susan Thomas
Show Dates: Feb 4 – 6 & 11 – 13 2022
The Amazing Flabby-Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales is a playful, irreverent digital performance. It plays with the myths and magical thinking that surround and define the non-masculine, non-heterosexual body. Inspired by the writings of a contemporary Indian feminist gynecologist, it poses surreal and satirical questions about how women’s bodies are taught, perceived and practiced within medical education in the urban Indian context. A textbook of forensic medicine in standard use across India today defines the breasts of a virginal woman as “hemispherical, firm, plump and elastic”, while that of a “deflorate” woman as “enlarged and flabby”.
What is this body, and how does one operate it? How do we inherit the stories of the non-masculine body? How do we employ these stories as truth?
This performance is part of an educational arts project on systemic issues in both medicine and education today.
Flabby-Breasted Virgin is supported by Asia Safe Abortion Partnership.
See-Saw started out as an attempt to collectively reflect on themes of identity and prejudice, people and communities. It culminated in two things: the first, a 10-week artistic exchange between anonymously paired Bangalore-based artists, via snail mail. And then a website that provides said deep-dive into everything that emerged, alongside reflections and insights from the team that created the project.
We wanted our artistic exchange to allow for a multi-sensorial experience and to develop a sense of collective reflection while still being apart. Hence, snail mail. This was simply furthered by the Covid-19 pandemic, for we were oversaturated by online communication, and ready for something warmer, more intimate.
So through this tangible, slow medium, we had a chance to rethink and relish both creation and communication. And we definitely recognised that acknowledging and understanding prejudices, and then bringing them into practice could sometimes take a lifetime (or longer).
The website comprises the 80+ artistic responses, notes and letters that were born from this exchange. It is more than just an archival space, however, as our team has reflected on these artworks and themes deeply, and shared our insights, too. We have also attempted to make the website accessible to people with different kinds of disabilities.
See-Saw is created in collaboration with Sandbox Collective and supported by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore. Conceived and conceptualised by Karen D’Mello. Co-created together with Charulatha Dasappa (Project Manager), Suchaita Tennetia (Dramaturg) and Aakriti Chandervanshi (Visual Designer) along with 11 other artists practicing diverse forms and from various social locations.
The See-Saw website will launch on January 22nd, 2022. Watch this space for more!