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FEMMES D'AILLEURS: (UN)D0CUM3NT3D 

MONTREAL 2020

Sin Palabras is working with a group of immigrant women of different ages doing mask workshops and storytelling workshops as a first phase of the project.

Inspired by the stories of 4 women from different parts of the world, Brazil, Mexico, Chad, Algeria, Afghanistan, we created 4 characters and portray in image and video the 4 stories of arriving to Canada in a poetical way…

Working in outside spaces due to COVID-19, we use masks and costumes to introduce you to these 4 different characters.

Meet the 4 characters here:

1.BRIDGE

The short story happens in a highway cross, in a bridge where this women has to wait every night and day for the bus to come. The bus never comes and the street is full of darkness. So instead of waiting, she takes courage and crosses the bridge. A 3 minute journey full of possibilities. She doesn't know who she will encounter, she knows it is not safe. 

 

She works two blocks away from the bridge. She is a sex worker, she is victim of a lot of abuse in her job, and she believes it is all normal now. So this bridge represents a connection. The place and path that takes her to where she lives: a Motel… another space that doesn’t feel like home to her. This journey is a cycle that she is deemed to repeat every single day. The journey between two points, two unwanted points. The memories return.

The bridge has become her safe space. This bridge has become part of herself, it is now hers. It is where she looks for peace.  She comes from this bridge, she feels so comfortable in the uncomfortable. This unsafe place for women, is now HER space. 

…so it all started when i tried to cross a bridge, right on highway 001

I really didn’t want to but the bus was not coming…I had been waiting for it for hours and started to feel very impatient, but not because I was in a hurry to get to my other destination.

I felt something in my stomach, a big discomfort I couldn’t explain.

I’ve realized that there was not a lot of things surrounding me, mechanic shops, abandoned buildings, nothing else…

It looked like a no mans land.

The noise of the cars had so much power that I couldn’t even hear myself…so I looked into that bridge…and crossed.

Since I got here seven years ago, I’ve never felt unsafe…all memories started passing by…

I was walking in the middle of the bridge and I just remember thinking

about my country

unsafe, unstable, alone…

By crossing and crossing for several times this ‘’unsafe’’ space has become own my safety  place.

The adrenaline makes me feel alive, the height, the wind…

2.BEHIND THE PARKING LOT

This story happens behind the parking lot. This character has transformed this space, now it is home to her. This is her safe place, where she rests her mind until she has to return home, where "the monster" awaits for her. He destroys her, over and over again. 

To bear up with the violence, she consumes drugs, this is her mind escape. She is in constant distress.  

 

She stabilizes her pain right next to the water. Right there is where she finds her peace, where she feels she is blooming again, reliving. She says she has become grotesque and morbid because of the violence, but behind the parking lot she feels beautiful and strong, she is. 

How important is urban space in society? How does a space makes us feel?

A Parking Lot could mean so much for someone. Who would have thought that? A Parking Lot could be a place of peace, of rest. 

In parallel, there are some many unsafe outside places like this one where there is nothing surrounding the space, almost like a dessert place where there is no light and anything could happen there.

 

The only thing makes her grounded on this place is the chunk of water coming from nowhere, where she finds this little bit of peace that she needs. This is HOME for her.

Why is that?

Her actual Home is not safe for her. Home is fire, she is living domestic violence and abuse and makes her run away. Interesting how this space makes her feel more safe being unsafe?...

Why I have always had the feeling I want to run away, that I want to escape?

I don’t feel safe here and I don’t feel I have a home. I don’t feel independent enough to have my own place, so I live with him, I fear of my safety, I’m trapped.

The only place I have, the only place I feel some peace, is behind the parking lot. So I cross and run to get there. I sit down past midnight. I wait here just to not go back where I live…

I just grab some strength. I breath and think one day I will go…

3.NUMBERS

Don’t call me by my name, she said.

 

Her story develops in her own home, the low income community apartments of the neighborhood. There are a lot of women and families living there, immigrants in the shadows. 

 

This character fears the outside world, she knows everyone is watching silently. 

What is it like to feel you have to hide in your own home?

You are worth nothing, you don’t need anything!

Be quiet, don’t move, don’t breath. Someone is going to see you.

Don’t look, don’t react, you are worth NOTHING…

Every Tuesday afternoon I come here and visit 7 different numbers.

 

The lack of identity doesn’t let me call them by their names.

Go visiting number 55 and then number 60…

I think I’m a number too

I am 39045789

4.TRACKS

This is the story of her journey and arrival to her new beginning. She just entered Canada coming all the way from Central America. She is fleeing from gender based violence from local gangs.

 

The fabrics she is carrying represent all her baggage. Her past stays with her, sometimes it controls her and she can't find an escape. She walks through the tracks to forget and remember, to free her mind and chain her heart. She stares to the train with fear, with the fear of being found. 

 

Her transition is not complete yet. She still shows the wounds in her face, the pain in her eyes. She is searching for her new identity. 

The train of liberty, that’s what she said… She comes here every once in a while when she needs to be quiet. This train station reminds her of her freedom, of being the boss of her own life. The smell, the sound, the space makes her think about home where she was unsafe. This space this train station. It transports people throughout the day, but when the night falls it becomes something else… Empty, quiet, cold this is where she wants to be …

 

Read

Write

Delete

Words are safe,

Or at least they use to be.

Now they are wood, strong enough to hurt, soft enough to burn.

Kind of like you.

Home

You keep tearing down

Home

Because it never feels right.