Blood and Soil

“[t]here is no such thing as absolute dirt (…) Dirt is relative. (…) people of different cultures have produced different definitions of what is to be avoided, or what constitutes “a matter out of place”…”


“Blood and Soil” is a performance research asking how the labels of dirty, clean and pure are applied to female bodies, their functions and roles. Looking at dirt as a relative concept, it is questioning our society’s preoccupation with cleanliness and hygiene in a range of areas: from disinfectants and mouthwash to sanitary pads, whiteness, virginity and unicorns.


What is dirt today? What are dirty, clean, pure bodies or actions? How do various states of cleanliness influence how moral or immoral a person is perceived? Which role does disgust play as an agent of cleanliness or purity?
It seems both cleaning and washing, literally and as emotional labour, are still a very female set of actions. One could say that our society’s beauty and hygiene ideals create a constant need for maintenance and control of the female body, which is always “deemed on the verge of being disgusting”.


This ongoing research is funded by the Norwgian Arts Council.