Method and theory
Body mapping is an exercise focused on personal experiences and embodied memory, developed by feminist theorists. The idea is to collectively elaborate a visual embodied exercise focused on the memories of our bodies. Through this practice, the participants reflect, locate and discuss different memories of neo-colonial and discriminatory experiences and share with the group their strategies to resist them.
The main purpose of this activity is to facilitate a safe space to reflect on and share personal and intimate experiences from an embodied perspective. Visualizing it on paper by drawing and writing, allows the participants to reflect on space, geography and social relations by giving relevance to the body parts where those memories or emotions are ingrained. Considering gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, age, nationality, cultural background, etc.
The approach of body mapping is meaningful in the way of creating a more comfortable atmosphere of work, that involves body, touching, voice, emotions, movement and materials into this type of discussions. It also gives the chance to explore and invite a broader and more diverse community to participate.
About the workshop
In the body mapping workshop “Decolonial strategies” we came together amid questions related to ourselves, our identities and the ways we are perceived and how we perceived the city of Zurich. We worked in teams of two in order to create intimate encounters between the participants, some who didn’t know each other before and others who did. Every group developed a body map based on their conversations and experiences:
They drew the outlines of their bodies and filled them with thoughts, questions or notes. Then we invited the participants to walk around, explain their body map and highlight an aspect they wanted to share or make more explicit about their personal identity.
- How do I experience living in Zurich?
- Under what circumstances did you come to Zurich?
- How long have I been living in Zurich?
- What factors played a role in you choosing your current living situation?
- Do I feel at home in the place I live?
- Which areas do I visit frequently?
- How do I move around in the city?
- How do I feel in public spaces? Are there places where I feel exposed or vulnerable?
- Has my personal experience of Zurich changed over time (positively or negatively)? If yes, in what ways has it changed?
- How do I describe myself? How do other people describe or read me?
- How do I negotiate or subvert interpretations I cannot identify with?
- Do I remember an experience in which someone else was treated negatively or differently because of their appearance, spoken language, gender, age, what they were doing, etc? If yes, where did it happen and how did you react to it?
«knowledge» «plant-mama» «archivist» «female she/her» «swiss-filipina» «archipielago» «swiss-german» «classic: love plants but can’t handle them» «lots of thinking going on» «languages» «grumble» «things I carry on my shoulders» «books» «here pains a lot too» «soy el color de mi piel en invierno» «cambió mi cabello» «no soy lo que vine a hacer aquí» «fairness how?» «aquí en Zurich me convertí en alguien más» «this is the place I live now» «hay una parte de mi que quiere pertenecer a otro lugar» «do we all have a colonial history based on appropriation and invasion?» «only late I realized how big of a priviledge it is» «it hurted me so much that I had to attend a doctor in Zurich» «my first medical crisis related to an emotional situation» «a woman doctor that spoke Spanish» «I was told I was homesick» «did it feel like a refuge or like a prision?» «it took me so long to visit new places and even explore the city» «utopia world-pass» «kolonial-waren» «territorial control» «welcome home» «escriveo ergo sum» «my first medical crisis related to an emotional situation»