Invited to the Bandits-Mages meetings in Bourges, Poussy Draama carried out a workshop about DIY gynecology for women and transsexuals. The performer explains her work “on alternative narrations to dominant narrations”.
The performer Poussy Draama and her character of itinerant gynecology DoctorE Caroline Duchesne carried out, as part of the Bandits-Mages meetings in Bourges in the center of France (from November 13-21), on November 14-15 a DIY gynecology workshop for women and transsexuals with the artists Aniara Rodado and Paula Pin. Axelle Terrier, invited student commissioner, carried out this interview before Poussy Draama’s presence in Bourges (and consequently before the Paris attacks).
Is your work an alternative to traditional medicine?
What I do is not an alternative to traditional medicine, more like peripheral work, an alter-gynecology. I consider myself as an alter-narrator who works on alternative narrations to dominant narrations. I am not a doctor, but I do everything doctors don’t do: information, explanation.
Poussy Draama, aka DocteurE Caroline Duchesne, presents her mobile office project:
Do you recognize that something is missing?
Yes, I am carrying out great work on the anatomy with DoctorE. Before working on medicine, I worked on the representation of the body and sex. One of the strong representations of sex is that of the genitals that can be found either in porn or in medicine. In both cases it is fictional. Ten years of studying gynecology to restrict the pussy to a uterus, a vagina and ovaries, no clitoris, no feminine ejaculation, nothing of the sort! Whereas they are organs that are present, that we know about, but are voluntarily not studied in the dominant narration of anatomy.
Can you tell us about your meeting with the Catalan collective GynePunk?
The GynePunk are hackers I met in Calafou and who work in one of the only hacklabs where there is a majority of women which is in itself incredible. They have their biolab and are 100 % in a search for DIY and autonomy. They have true scientific experience, for instance they are able to carry out a swab and its analysis on the microscope. The political situation in Spain was more critical than in France these last few years. There have been fall backs on abortion, on social security etc. In France we are not immune to a similar situation, it will only take power to take a slightly harder line…We have however in France moved forward on abortion. The Senate has voted for no more delays to abort. Before, you had a compulsory reflection period, you had to show your face, then think about it, this is not the case any more and that’s super cool!
In which state of mind are the people who take part in your workshops?
To put people at ease, I make sure they understand rapidly the content of what will happen. There is therefore no surprise. My work involves medicine and thus responsibility: I only work under consent. I am always asking: “Are you all right? Can we go further?” It’s interactive, it happens quite naturally. Participants are truly co-authors of what we build together.
Your van evokes at the same time the van of a sex trade worker, the trailer of a medium or an itinerant doctor from the 19th century. Any particular reason for it to become your workshop?
The van allows me to take my aesthetics where I want. It is part of a communication and visibility strategy. It’s a strong symbol, it is red, it attracts attention. In a very concrete manner, it allows me to take a library with me. DocteurE gets people interested in the history of medicine, a very violent history for women’s bodies, linked to witch hunting, but also medical schools forbidden to women. Following an empirical medicine, appeared a political program designed to eradicate countryside knowledge, home practice, to lead it towards official legislation. These images of the sex trade worker’s van, the medium’s trailer or of itinerant DoctorE suit me fine!