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In the beginning is the body. Illuminated by spotlights, performer Renata Carvalho moves across the stage, barely clothed. We don't see her face. She exposes her body to our gaze so that we can judge it, assess it, classify it. This body has always been observed and examined. If he resists the classification, he can be punished, humiliated and disenfranchised.


Renata Carvalho's performance "Manifesto Transpofágico" begins with the viewer's gaze at the body of the transpofágico, a term that in Brazil refers to people who were assigned male at birth but who have developed a female gender identity. The self-name refers to a collective history that Carvalho makes the subject of her performance.

Exposed to our gaze, Carvalho uses documentary video material to talk about the systematic exclusion of any difference. A macho, patriarchal system in which gender identities differ based on who perpetrates violence and who endures it in silence. The act of protest against this structure, which every travesti carries out through her pure existence, is at the same time a work of art: Carvalho tells her biography as a path to artistic self-fashioning. She shows where she changed and deformed her body through backroom cosmetic surgery and what health risks she had to expose herself to.

The performer herself enters the audience and questions us: Can we describe how and why we read the people around us? What makes the difference between the genders we assign – short or long hair, a piece of clothing, a backpack? At the end of the performance we have to decide which view of the performer's body we should choose and experience how the questions at the beginning of Carvalho's performance become superfluous: the exposed body becomes an appearance that simply demands respect and care.

Director Luiz Fernando Marques and performer and writer Renata Carvalho both come from Santos, São Paulo state. Renata describes herself as a transpologist, a combination of the terms transgender and anthropology, and dedicates her artistic practice to the experience of trans* bodies and people.
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