In this film piece the artist Jesse Jones uses film and performance to proclaim the return of the Witch as a feminist example. The title comes from the 1970’s wages for housework movement during which Woman would chant “Tremate, tremate, le streghe sono tornate! (Tremble, tremble, the witches have returned!)”.
Jones has researched the ways women were treated during the 16th century witch trials, the symphysiotomy (a brutal procedure to widen the pelvis for childbirth) trials and the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. The work uses testimony, statements, and written lyrics, and Jones collaborated with artist Olwen Fouéré and sound artist Susan Stenger.
While I was viewing the film it felt like the pavilion itself became a place of a different legal system, where the mass was kept together by a symbolic giant body of a women to proclaim a new law called Utera Gigantae.
The film has a very sinister feel to it, the “witch” in the film addresses the audience which I found very engaging but at times quite frightening as the images were projected on two screens one in front of you and one behind, making me continuously watch my back while it was playing. While watching one screen I was turned around by a voice saying:
“Did I disturb ye good people? I hopes I disturb ye, I hopes I disturb ye enough to want to see this, your house, in ruins all around ye! Have you had enough yet? Or do you still have time for chaos? Hah? More?”
What started out as confusion, to me, soon turned into complete focus, I could not take my eyes away from what I was seeing. It left me deep in thought for the injustices of our history and anxiety for our future. This was one of my favourite works at the Venice biennale, I thought it was a very strong piece of work and I would highly recommend it.
Photo sourced: http://irelandatvenice2017.ie/about/