interflugs lecture

by&with Alina Popa

The Bureau of Melodramatic Research

May 31st / 7pm / UdK Berlin/ Hardenbergstr.33/ room 102

"Body screamin’ fuckin’ bloody mess – Not an animal – It's an abortion"

Sex Pistols, Bodies, 1977

Spectres of Fetuses are haunting the post-communist imagination. A recent article with a neoconservative touch deplores the aborted Romania, the countless “unborn” Brancusi’s that could have enriched MOMA’s collection for the pride of the nation. Such “what if” stories have become dominant flashback moments in a classical nationalist melodrama. What if all those “unborn” had been actually born? What if Communism hadn’t come to Romania?

The termination of communism is thus seen as the legitimate return to the big European family, fed at the breast of the Capitoline She-Wolf. The new retributive and revengeful history (written mostly by men) regards Communism as being forced on Romania by the Bolsheviks, more precisely Russian men. Romania was ideologically and physically raped and made pregnant with a new unwanted fetus that had to be abandoned and locked away, in the wait of the western immaculate conception. The therapeutic abortion of the Communist past is repeatedly induced in movies, reports, Communist Crimes Commissions, public monuments, political speeches and corruption scandals.

The first televised images forcepsed out of the “inscrutable” country after ‘89 were that of women queuing in front of abortion clinics: thus Romania is gendered and becomes a supine woman waiting to be examined and seduced. The miracle of the penetrating West is reproduced on every building, on every billboard, in every shopping mall, while the miracle of life is blessed with a glossy varnish by the new joint venture between local orthodoxy and pro-Vita lifestyle.

The talk will follow the harsh folklore of abortion through different media, following activist debates and recent feminist positions. It is a strange and unsettling tale that already smells of wax figurines, small plastic doll fetuses used as educational props and religiously charged neo-orthodox clinics.


Biroul de Cercetari Melodramatice // The Bureau of Melodramatic Research