EDUCATING OURSELVES TO BE OURSELVES

A chat with Irene Serini on ‘Abracadabra – studio 5, l’educazione del bambino e della bambina’
‘Reading Mario Mieli made me realise that I was allowed to be myself. We are us, we are here, we shine, we are alive,
there is no rule that establishes who is valid and who is not. It feeds a taste, a joy, a pleasure to be oneself. Even if we don’t really know what that means.’
I
t was in 2009 that Irene Serini, at home with a fever, picked up the book Elementi di critica
omosessuale (Towards a Gay Communism: Elements of a Homosexual Critique) from a shelf
and read the introduction, being immediately struck by those initiatory pages and the revolutionary figure of Mario Mieli. ‘It was evidently necessary to have a little fever to touch an incandescent book!’ she says, smiling. This first
fever gave birth to ‘Abracadabra,’ an independent project, driven by the desire to investigate the thinking of Mieli through 5 studies in 5 years, taking the time to viscerally inhabit such a complex
and fascinating character, and then resurface and translate this journey into performances.
We talked about this project in the article ‘Abracadabra’ (9 December 2020), and are returning to it today on the threshold of the fifth and last performance, which aims to illuminate Mario Mieli’s thinking on issues regarding education. The first 3 studies, Irene tells, us revolve around the questions ‘What is identity? Who determines it? Whom does it serve?,’ with the aim of making audiences curious about Mario Mieli and his subversive view of the binary logic of male and female divisions, in circular shows ‘where thought rotates like the circle in which the audience is placed.’ The guiding figure of the fourth study is the triangle, which occupies the stage exhibiting the theme of power, investigated by Irene Serini, on stage with Caterina Simonelli, starting with the hierarchies
established between actors and audience.
The fifth study, ‘Abracadabra – l’educazione del bambino e della bambina’ (Abracadabra – the education of the boy and the girl), was instead born under the sign of the square (which in the alchemical field is close to the idea of construction, and therefore of projection towards a time to come): Irene Serini, Caterina Simonelli, Anna Resmini and Luca Oldani will inhabit a scenic space whose corners will be the questions ‘Who educates us? What do they educate us for? Who is authorised to educate us or not? Who will be the children inside this studio?’ A work that will move around a theme that was very dear to Mieli, that of educastration, according to which the deep desires of children are constantly and systematically repressed. There will be no attempt, therefore, to demonstrate
any method, which he never theorised, but to investigate the extent to which some of the rules we take for granted in the educational system are actually a limit rather than a possibility, with the desire to ask how much the repression of femininity – in both boys and girls – plays a fundamental role. This will also be the last study, and therefore a farewell to the audience, to the time to come, to Mario Mieli and ‘also for this reason it closes with
the topic that most of all thinks about the future, with a theme that looks at those who, hopefully, will no longer be educated to divide themselves, but to recognise themselves regardless of these 2 forces [the masculine and the feminine] with which we have been educated to govern ourselves.’ I ask Irene Serini what Mario Mieli would say today, when faced with a group of adolescents, those new generations for whom he dreamed of a new world. ‘He would try to fascinate them, he would play with them at transvestism, with physical and concrete experimentation. He would try to make them work with their bodies. He would say to them “Use this body, as much as you can, because it is the most beautiful word you have. Remember that kissing and being kissed, hugging and being hugged, caressing and being caressed, fucking and being fucked, are enjoyed by everyone. Do it beyond all orientation, as much as you can.

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