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19 August 2022,

​​Ammophila 3: There was land here before

Elafonisos, Greece

Photos Loukianos Arnaoutis

Concept, text, performance : Sofia Kouloukouri

Research : Sofia Kouloukouri, Nefeli Mirtidi


Whenever the paradigm of nature and its organisms is used as a model for human society it is approached in ways that are unsustainable for femininities. From why women are subjected to epithets such as “hen”, “sow”, “donkey”, “bitch” or even - but even this with ambivalence - “cat”, to the more serious, why in the culture vs. nature dichotomy, women are identified with nature and men with society. Through this reasoning, the position of ‘the prevalence of the stronger’ is presented as a natural position. This position, as we know, has been embraced by a variety of far-right formations over the centuries, but also by the dominant patriarchal culture, which also resorts to the example of nature to justify the perpetuation of inequality between men and women in human societies. 

What we will be concerned with in CONTRENATURE is the instrumentalization and fragmentation of specific references from the animal kingdom. For example, who hasn’t heard talk of the lion, king of the jungle and the good mother lioness. Of course, from each animal a part of the narrative is chosen that is in the interest of the dominant narrative, e.g. the lioness in relation to motherhood. But there is another part of the narrative in which lions operate in prides led by females. And these females, when in estrus, mate up to 100 times a day with different males! 

But that’s not what we’re talking about...In the category of motherhood, mating, female activity as hunters - the analogue of our own work outside the household - the examples of animals with behaviors that deviate from the dominant model are numerous. 

With an inquiring spirit and humor, avoiding anthropomorphism, CONTRENATURE is a lecture aimed at familiarizing us with some of the lesser-known examples of what females in the animal kingdom do - and what is ultimately rather than nature.

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