Jeanna Criscitiello

…and then there was EVE

is a composite of heroines combined to make a protagonist with her own story.

A collection of EVE heroes was compiled from multiple perspectives through invited participants asked to name a personal heroine and identify an object — book, work of art, photograph, and so on — representative of that figure. From family members to poet Sophie Podolski, filmmakers Chantal Akerman and Maya Deren, writers Marguerite Duras and Susan Sontag, frontierswoman Calamity Jane, Greek mythological goddess Penelope, ecological activist Julia Butterfly, architect Denise Scott Brown, painter Alice Neel, and literary evergreen Pippi Longstocking. New narratives were created by mixing hard fact, intimate confession and the poetics of story-telling.

References can be found by clicking on the underlined selections.

Calamity Jane and Pippi Longstocking : Bang Bang. A girl what could keep up and fight and ride and curse with the best of em’. I’m the strongest girl in the world. Don’t forget it. A girl what ain’t trapped in some dress or some house or some bed. No Fridolf, bother all this learning. Ain’t nothing’ scarier than someone with nothin’. Bang Bang Don’t worry about me, I’ll always come out on top. Can’t count on miracles. Sometimes you just gotta have a plan. Bang Bang. I’ve never tried that before so I guess I should be able to do that. A girl what could keep up and fight and ride and curse with the best of em’. I’m the strongest girl in the world. Don’t forget it. Bang Bang. Ain’t no good ever come of it if you ain’t steerin’ yourself. Don’t worry about me, I’ll always come out on top. Ain’t nothing’ scarier than someone with nothin’. (Don’t Forget) Bang Bang. Don’t worry about me, I’ll always come out on top. She never wanted to go there. Ain’t no good ever come of it if you ain’t steerin’ yourself. She would always say…..(I’m the strongest girl in the world) She would always say… Bang Bang. I am love… (A girl what could keep up and fight and ride and curse with the best of em’) (A girl what ain’t trapped in some dress or some house or some bed.) And I …I am love. I’m strong and I’m wild ( Ain’t nothing’ scarier than someone with nothin’.) She would always say (Can’t count on miracles. Sometimes you just gotta have a plan.) (A girl what could keep up and fight and ride and curse with the best of em’) (Ain’t no good ever come of it if you ain’t steerin’ yourself) (I’ll always come out on top) She would always say. What I like and what I need are two different things. Bang Bang. And I'm …free ( Ain’t nothing’ scarier than someone with nothin’.) (A girl what could keep up and fight and ride and curse with the best of em’) In love… (I’m the strongest girl in the world. Don’t forget it.) In love… Bang Bang.         Julia Butterfly : I haven’t always looked like this, beautiful I mean. It took time. Becoming-takes time. It was the car crash that started the cycle. Everything went dark. I was consciously, unconscious. I heard wind rustling the leaves of the ancient Redwoods. I felt the constant rhythm of a drum. The violence of the impact propelled me into a chrysalis. The womb. My grave. My arms and legs bound tightly together. I had no choice but to stop resisting and let the black pour over me. You wanna know my story …I’ll tell you, if you wanna know. I’ll yell it from the top of a 1500 year old Redwood tree. I’ll tell you about how I was broken….mentally, physically, spiritually. I wasn’t thriving. I was surviving. So I decided to climb 180 feet High and stay for 738 days til I let go and learn to bend. Till I let go and learn to bend… Till I let go and learn to bend… Till I let go and learn to bend… Till I let go…         Denise Scott Brown When I finished she said….. Beauty is immeasurable. You can’t measure beauty. She said she wasn’t broken. She wasn’t vulnerable. She said she knew she was going to be an architect since she was five years old because her mother had studied architecture so she thought it was women’s work. « Architecture can’t force people to connect. It can only plan the crossing points. Remove barriers and make the meeting places useful and attractive ». I liked talking to her. She knew who she was. She knew where she was going. She knew she needed a purpose and a cause so she built it all around her. She knew it was only a matter of time…..she knew….she knew….          Marguerite Duras & Charlotte Perkins Gilman " Tres vite dans ma vie il était trop tard. A writer is foreign territory. "  1915….As good a time as any to write about women. A Nation of women where everyone is cared for. Herland. " I’ve never written, though I thought I wrote. Never loved, though I thought I loved. Never done anything but wait outside the door. " Everyone is valued. No war, no crime. No hunger. No waste. No vanity. No jealousy. No heartbreak…. " By the time of my first solitude, I knew what I had to do. Write. Solitude. » « La solitude ca veut dire aussi : Ou la mort ou le livre. « A socialist paradise, Utopia. A better world for womankind where all of her needs are met day after day after day…. I told my mother I wanted to write books. « Write what?« Books, Novels. « It’s not worthy she said. It’s not real work. It’s nonsense. A childish idea. » I imagine a world …. The story of my life doesn’t exist. Where I can live free….. « There’s never any center to it. « Where nothin’ hurts « No path. » And I can breath." No line. " (Nation of women. Keepin’ it real) « There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone. But it’s not true. There was no one… » (Everything I need, I can put in my Pocket….(wear it baggy, oversized). Inside my Pocket….) « Ecrire, c’est aussi ne pas parler. C’est se taire. C’est hurler sans bruit. »        Penelope I’m a spider-woman. A master spinner. I got the head, the body make the strongest man week. I got the Royalty see. I ain’t no second class bitch. You can’t talk no shit, just cause you can’t get with this! Odysseus… my one and only. 20 years gone fighting for fame and glory but our love is epic so he’ll be back to tell the story. Til then, I’m gonna bide my time, spin my rhymes and work the loom like magic cause a woman ain’t helpless and tragic. Livin’ the life fit for a Queen cause I made it with my silky body sheen. I’m goin’ down in history, the icon, the myth, beauty, goddess, motherfucker. So next time you find my web, whisper ITHACA. Twenty years is a long time but I’m still your queen. You are Odysseus, my King. I’m not afraid. I rule over men. I am wise and just. Protector of the throne. Maker of the home. Alone I raise our son while I sing your praise. Faithful. Loyal to our love…I weave at night to keep them from calling. I weave at night because I’m not alone. Not alone. I’m beautiful and strong. I am a Queen. The wife of a King. The daughter of a king. The mother of a Prince. They believed in me. More than I did in myself. I didn’t seek fame or glory but now… I'm a hero and forever will be….Till death do us part….     Sophie Podolski  The story of my transformation has given me countless hours of inspiration… and other times…desperation. I make drawings and poetry in the half-light. Crouched over like a puffed-up blanket dropped on the ground. Motionless except for my hands scribbling a stream of consciousness, never able to keep up with my thoughts… I’m high on acid, euphoric… and genius. I am a freak of nature. Lady into fox….You must have heard of me. I’ve inspired many, David Garnett was the first. Half-lady. Half Fox….Half animal but I would say….half machine. I am faster on four legs so let me go ahead and scout out the terrain. My sense of smell and intuition will keep me safe from the Bourgeois hunters, out for blood. My blood. The blood of the emancipated. Whores who disgrace their lady kind and betray the patriarchal social order. Those of us living in the margins and thriving on sex, drugs and revolution. I am brave and strong and willing to throw myself to the wolves if that’s what it will take. Zappa sings to me…. “ Freakout “ Live in the sunshine and go in search of your kind. « Wisdom should be sung ». Music. Frank Zappa. The Motherfucker of Invention. I want to live in a              « Country where everything is permitted ». Paradise. « Outside of Paradise nothing embarrasses because nothing matters. » « Not everyone is endowed with the vice of writing. I’ll start with a suicide. I’ll no longer be blind. I’ll live in the sunshine » because I’m strong and because « spitting Indian Ink is no more my profession than love… »       Maya Deren Alice NeelAlejandra Hernández-Avila In film I can make the world dance. 1965. Cosmic Jungle woman. James Hunter Black. Manipulate Time. Draftee. Experiment. Should come from the heart. Every time the woman falls asleep. Does that mean it’s naïve ? Primitive ? She sees a masked man leaving flowers.  Or is that true creation ? A portrait of a black man. Don’t bore me with your words. On his way to Vietnam. Figurative Art. Show me. So what? Does everything need to be explained ? Don’t bore me with your words. Unpainted surfaces. Move me. Why can’t it just move you ? Don’t bore me with your words. Move me. A record of a black man still there…but already gone. Body in Motion. Speak to you ? Still there …but already gone. The woman is looking at a reflection of herself. Body in Motion. She realises she holds the universe in her body. Naked. Alone. Beautiful. Fearlessly painting a world no one was looking at. Beautiful. I can make the world dance. Body in Motion. She holds her hand out. Once we’ve exhausted the big heroes narrative through endless repetition. Body in Motion. Maybe she doesn’t believe it. A space opens for unsung heroes. Body in Motion. Maybe it feels too primitive ?  Dance. A space opens for unsung heroes. Or maybe she just wants to fit in?  For unsung heroes. She stands in front of her mirror image and hesitates. Invisible for too long. Will she embrace her natural powers ? Will she become both friend and mother to those of us who lost our way? To those of us wandering alone in the forest? Invisible for too long.  Will she take the leap? I’ll be there.  And transcend culture?  I’ll be there. Era?  I’ll be there. Politic? I’ll be there. Body in Motion. Will she accept who she is?  Body in Motion. A galaxy of separate entities. Dance. Body in Motion. That make-up the universe.  Body in Motion.  I’ll be there...of the feminine.     Sontag My opinion matters so much so, that the sum of my identity is in one name, my last. An honour reserved for the iconic and important. “Susie from Phoenix -The Resurrection” engraved on my tombstone..Ha! It might spook the visitors though?! Boo.Ha.ha.ha. Some people are afraid of me. I don’t mind that. It fascinates me and I must admit that I like the hush and the quiet stares when I walk in a room. Fame and glamour are artifice and exaggeration, yes…. but honestly, not many people can make thinking as sexy as me because I also understand beauty and taste. I can write about anything because I’m interested in everything. Seriously Frivolous or Frivolously Serious. High-Low. Science-Art. Fantasy-Reality. Life Death. Consciousness-Sensuousness. What is masked in one is revealed in the other. Their co-existence is what urges us on the road to understanding. There’s only one subject where words stop short. Yep. You guessed it. Love. Intellect and the state of being in-love are the same. Avidity, appetite, craving, longing, yearning, insatiability, rapture, inclination and yet language cannot capture the experience. Altruism is also a form of love and in this I am fearless. Being close to death makes one leap to life and living is the only thing worth dying for. Sarajevo is waiting - We are waiting for help to come. America-America-America Sarajevo is waiting - We are waiting for help to come. Is all the world a stage and life is but a dream? Is all the world a stage and life is but a dream? If I had one word that could sum up a lifetime of reflection and sweat. If I was asked, was it worth it? Was it enough? My answer…Yes…and No.