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The light that we miss 

Misslightenment is a physical performance with strong visual elements. Engaging in intricate interactions with projected imagery, a single performer onstage is transformed into multiple personas. The projected visuals are imbued with imagery both piercing and abstract, allowing space for the audience to freely associate.
In a yet-to-be-written book, narratives unfold through the dynamic interplay of various female personas, utilizing striking overlays of shadow, light, and video. Woven together, creating animated images, the performer and her shadows tell divergent stories, oscillating between reality, fantasy and mythology.

“Misslightenment” is a work about the overshadowing of women's stories, and subsequently bodies, by the male gaze. By giving light to — and drawing inspiration from - pre-existing narratives about mistreatment of women spanning from mythology to contemporary times, Eleni Ploumi looks at the stories from the arc of her personal perspective: what do they trigger in her, what kind of memories, experiences and reactions emerge…
At its core, “Misslightenment” delves into how the male gaze ‘produces’ women and their stories and provokes questions on how these interpretations in turn shape today’s continued mistreatment of women.

Inspired by and dedicated to:

Medusa, the blamed victim
Hypatia, the hunted witch
Sisters Oversteegen and Hannie Schaft, those who broke the mother-housewife stereotype
Viktoria Marinova, the woman who made noise


Concept, choreography, visuals, soundscape & performance: Eleni Ploumi
Additional soundscape curation: Pauline Roelants
Video editor & production assistance: Nikola Scheibe
Music track: Appalachian Grove I, Laurie Spiegel
Artistic advice: Pauline Roelants, Maarten van der Put
Dramaturgical advice: Danae Theodoridou
Photography: Clara Gustafsson
Videography: Marica De Michele
Print design: T.M. Cabrera
Co-produced by: United Cowboys
Financially supported by: PLAN Brabant

Special thanks to the Blauwe Maan and Feniks Emancipatie Expertise Centrum Tilburg for the consultancy and input.

Misslightenment – its own story

Being raised in a conservative religious country (Greece), I grew to question my place as a woman within a society entrenched in systemic sexism.

Then two years ago — here in the Netherlands — the sister of an acquaintance of mine was a victim of femicide. After some research it became clear that the Netherlands, like Greece, is rife with gender-based violence, just a little more hidden under its progressive veneer According to Atria, in 2020 there were 44 victims of femicide and in 2021, 38. I felt an urgency to bring this topic to light.  A femicide is not just a random act. It’s the tip of the iceberg of something much larger: a structure of patriarchal violence that is cultivated within a broader social environment which justifies and reproduces it.

Thus, the first part of my research reflects on this social environment: how does history and the male gaze ‘produce’ women and their stories, and how do these interpretations in turn shape today’s society? I studied a broad range of women’s stories of mistreatment throughout time. Stories overshadowed by the male gaze. Later I looked to present-day stories from survivors of gender-based violence, in consultation with Feniks Emancipatie Center of Tilburg and De Blauwe Maan (a center which provides help to victims of sexual violence).
Material from this exchange fueled the continued development of the work. By giving light to — and drawing inspiration from — documented cases of abuse (and how these cases became public), Misslightenment provokes questions on society’s continued mistreatment of women.

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