Michelle Mattiuzzi, Salvador
December 6, 2017

Nudity is a decolonizing projectile bullet for radicalized bodies that are marked by difference. It is violent; it is performance; it is activism; it is contradictory; it is indestructible. Therefore, nudity that is assembled through improvised environmental sound, along with the ashen images of the street’s stun grenades and the presence of the body itself, is an act of precarious ancestral knowledge, as well as a potential ritual for reallocating gestures of protest. The naked body demands passage, whether alone or in a group. It is a recurring action that I have learned from Black women living on the street in the city of Salvador in Bahia, Brazil. Here, I present seven important points for carrying out premeditated actions so as to prevent failures and disarticulate possible police action:

  1. In order to act without clothing, one must be attended to and accompanied by at least one other person. Ideally, such actions should take place in a group.
  2. Choose a location. Identify possible escape routes, and verify the movement of people and authorities in the place where the action will occur.
  3. Risk is a principal component of the action. Pay attention to the butterflies in your stomach and keep yourself present, but make sure you control your anxiety and act carefully.
  4. Wear light clothes that are easy to remove. Ideally, wear clothes with pockets where store a plastic bag to hold the clothes once you’ve removed them.
  5. Take off your clothes and guard them in the plastic bag.
  6. Walk calmly and deliberately through the location you have chosen. If you feel that your body is threatened, run.
  7. When you take off your clothes, throw your nudity at the world. The naked body is a powerful weapon.

This action risks suffering recriminations or discriminations from passersby; there is the probability and possibility of facing lynching, enchantment, or discontent from a local audience. For a body outside of accepted patterns, the adjective “naked” is a negation of patriarchal, colonial norms. The exhibition of a Black body re-stages political repositioning; it is a means of escaping a scenic narrative of pain and of exposing secrets. To continue on our path while naked is a radical performance. Being a racialised body, we lay ourselves down in the mouth of a sleeping lion; we display a sharpened knife between our bloodstained teeth.

Musa Michelle Mattiuzzi is currently part of the group exhibition Negros Indicios at Caixa Cultural São Paulo, and she also recently performed at the Athens Museum Of Queer Art (AMOQA) as part of the Queer City event at documenta 14.

Michelle Mattiuzzi

Michelle Mattiuzzi

Ex-bank clerk , ex-receptionist, ex-employee in telemarketing, ex-assistant to xxx, ex-child carer, ex-dancer, ex-wife, ex-, ex-insurance broker, ex-student. She was expelled from the Universidade Federal da Bahia due to institutional racism. Black, author, performer, she moves interdisciplinarily across the arts. [Photo: Hirosuke Kitamura]

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