Self-Struggling, Self-Seeking and Self-Accepting: Limbs by Erica Gressman

Trapped in a “weird and even monster-liked” body, she was struggling, seeking, and finally, accepting.

Written by Zhenbang Wu.

Photo by Zhenbang Wu

Debuting at KAM, Limbs combined struggling movements and removal of limbs with violin-like electronic sound and lights, given by Chicago-based Latinx queer artist Erica Gressman. “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes.” As for me, it is all about self-struggling, self-seeking and self-accepting.

During the performance, the artist, who was trapped in a “weird and even monster-liked” body, struggled and sought to be the same as others by removing all of her weird and monster-liked limbs. She seemed to have no direction but just swung up and down in the cage desperately. She looked confused and painful.

Photo by Zhenbang Wu



What is her fault? She just had a different appearance and what she did was just making herself the same as others. As she tore down her limbs one by one, I felt extremely struggled as if I were the one in the cage. One by one, as she got rid of all her “weird” limbs, she finally became a “normal” person.



However, this was not the end. The climax moment was when she took off her white suit and walked out as a pure black person. After all the struggle, confusion, and desperation, she finally accepted herself and started to live her own life, regardless of how other people think of her.

Photo by Zhenbang Wu

It occurs to me that, to some extent, we are all “monsters” with different “limbs”. We are so different and we are all seeking for other people’s acceptance. However, what we really need is the acceptance from ourselves. Rather than getting rid of all the different “limbs” we have, what we should do is to accept them because it is them that make us who we are. It is all about living our own life regardless of how others think.  So accept yourself and accept the world around you. You are unique because you are who you are.

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