Trauma With Care (2012-2015)

Trauma with care the title of a series of performance and research that juxtaposes a situation of trauma and invasion of privacy with one of pleasure, catharsis and healing; a scenario of control and surveillance with one of intimacy and relaxation.  For the first piece in these Series, "Cateo al mas ajeo", The artist worked with massage therapists and security airport guards to develop a massage routine based on the security pat-downs regularly done at airports, borders, jails, and when arresting individuals . In both professions the practitioners spend most of their time  touching human bodies, one of them searches for points of stress, injury, strain and pain, the other for weapons, drugs, illegal substances, explosives.  The invasive and traumatic procedure is then transformed into a carefully done massage in the hands of a professional massage therapist, with the intention of healing the body.The security guards taught the massage therapists the legal pat-down procedure and the massage therapists trained the guards to massage with different massaging techniques. 

This work is part of an ongoing series and research project whose objective is to transform situations of trauma and systemic oppression into moments of relaxation and restoration of the physical self. It attempts to bring together security guards, policemen, and immigration officers, with massage therapists, healers, shamans, and reiki practitioners to reevaluate how bodies are surveilled, controlled, and treated.  Creating a moment of healing, while triggering a past memory of trauma, so that the participant questions why we don't interrogate the constant scrutiny of our bodies by the systems of the state. As well as questioning from whom the border, airports, and areas of tension,  are  friction’free zones of entitled access,  frontiers of possibilities. Who travels and passes confidently across borders and security points? and who gets questioned, detained, interrogated and strip-searched by the hands of the state? By collaborating with healers, the project struggles to make government agencies and individuals more aware of the way bodies are being handled and traumatized in searches. 

                              To protect the identities of the massage therapists, security guards
                              and participants, this performance, can only be experience live
                              and there is no video documentation of it. This photo is an example
                              of a pat down search by a TSA officer.

                         First performance, at closing event for Feminist Art Gallery (FAG), Toronto
                   exhibition organized by Access Gallery. Sweaty Bones curated by Heidi Nagteggal
                               The participants requested that their identities remained unknown