body politics, body poetics: part 2 – initiation

Photo: Emma Grima 

pamela varela

I am sitting in a room1, writing, writing from a room of my own2. My body tries to express my mind’s interpretation of what my spirit truly wants to say. Multiple layers form the Self, form us, form ourSelves. All these layers have been shaped by transgenerational experiences; neither of them exists without the other. The interrelation is complex, and the mysteries manifest. In this body with a uterus in which I was born and with all the oppressive implications that entails, I ask myself “Why am I here?”   

In an attempt to understand my past, to speak my present, and to shape my future, I write these words. And in an attempt to connect and commune, I pass them on. I believe in collective and ancestral trauma. I know my body carries information from past lives, from those before me and their struggles. I have felt my body block in ways that have no connection with my thoughts (mind) or my true desires (spirit). Especially sexually, there is something that does not feel quite right. 

I am the granddaughter of generations of rape; 

    now I know my body knows.

This thesis ~ these words ~  and this piece ~ this work ~ are the commencement of a lifework, a journey of discovery of how a very damaged past attempts to create a very pleasurable future. We all embody time; we are time’s messengers. We are continuously part of the regenerative cycle of matter and nonmatter that connects us to one another. Glancing at a destiny that seems grim—from climate change to pandemics to white supremacy—it is hard to envision hope. But I believe feminism has the capacity to forge that path. 

I am a feminist artivist. I delve into the complex meaning of this movement and its submovements, finding my position and action within its propositions. I analyze the two cultures that shape me: Latin American and European. From politics to poetics, from activism to art, I dive into these political complexities, and I venture and adventure into the healing capabilities of different forms of rhythm, of inspiring movements and the creator creatures behind them. My own expression nourishes itself from the fighters of this world, the change generators: the rebels, the dancers, the poets, the witches, the serpents… to then create a multiverse of its own.

Mi cuerpa, my body, enjoys, joys, joins. I let the quietened voices living in and around me guide my way

to rebel, to dance

I rebel. I dance. 


Infinite gracias to all the sisters that have guided my way and accompanied me in this journey. 

To Ella Hebendanz and Ines DeRu for co-creating with me in our sWitches collective, for tripping with me all these years in The Netherlands, and for dancing with me at every party. 

To Sofía Irene for holding my back in the creation of this thesis’s crazy design and to Taide Martínez for critically questioning and editing my every word.

To Montserrat Balmori and Victoria Martínez for being inspiring friends and artists, and for giving sound to the voices and co-creating with me the electropoetry.

To Fazle Shairmahomed and Davide Amato for inspiring me so much since we know each other and collaborating with me for my performance. 

To Marlot Meyer and Maarten Keus for being amazing artists and friends, and for helping me infinitely with electronic chaos. 

To Pim Kerssemakers and Dennis Slootweg for always giving me a helping hand when it comes to machinery. 

To my mom for shutting up the patriarchs with her power (and for having made me in her belly). 

To María Hamilton and Laura Oliver for changing my life; this text is for you.

To KABK, I/M/D, and all my crazy teachers, especially Anna Arov, who was my steadiest guide in the process of this writing, Lyndsey Housden, Janine Huizenga, and Pawel Pokutycki.

1 Ode to Alvin Lucier, who also experimented with the body, technology, and the beat of the drum.

 2 Ode to Virginia Woolf, who was a rebel of her times.