Plumbers, 2006, video, 3"30' min.
“Plumbers” is a video that records a performance taking place in a public bath.
The work’s two protagonists initially appear dressed in overalls, raincoats, protective masks and goggles that hide their sex and identity, giving the impression that they are some kind of crew that is there to perform a task as common as disinfection or maintenance.
Gradually and in perfect coordination the two performers will remove their clothes and gear to adopt a completely different role. This act of unveiling reveals yet another disguise: two belly-dancers that begin to perform a traditional dance.
By means of this peculiar ritual the two women manage to disrupt any sense of rationality that might be traced in the image, as this passes from a sterilized, rather cerebral state into one of dionysiac ecstasy that strikes one as being almost other-worldly when considered in relation to the stated space and conditions therein.
Although the sight of this particular dance is associated with the notion of female submission to the male sex, any relating semiotics is subverted in the work’s context, since the two dancers use their dance as an instrument of liberation, as a vehicle for sexual expression, personal satisfaction and pleasure, while awakening erotic desire consciously becomes an aggressive tool in seducing and ultimately conquering the viewer.
The bath, which is the vital space in which the work unfolds, much in the way it has repeatedly been used in the tradition of western cinema, is not only a space laden with a variety of psychological, religious and biological references, but also an ideal shell or cocoon within which the body may be allowed to transform, to be redeemed or reborn. In the work’s specific context it can be seen as a metaphorical plane on which various cultural elements come to merge, irrespective of their particular origins. It thus produces a new experimental condition in which traditional female and male roles acquire through time a new, altered meaning.