Traditionally, women from the island of Linosa, Italy, have carried out a symbolic annual ritual. In order to establish a hierarchy amongst dominant family clans, the two presiding matriarchs meet on the Feast of Saint Marina (patron of the Sea, fertility and suffering), to flagellate each other with fish until a victor is decided. 'Fish Wives' --parlance for shrewish and abusive women--takes its name from the phrase attributed to this tradition. The winner collects the discarded, damaged fish and returns home to prepare a special dish with them. Later, it is presented to the adversary who must sit and eat it as an act of contrition. This ritual has been coined as 'andare a Cannosa' where the expression 'to eat humble pie' originates.
Fish Wives (Sweet Science) is a live reenactment of this duel. It explores the physicality of mutual female aggression incorporating the visceral elements of women in battle using fish as weapons. Culinary gestures are incorporated throughout creating additional sensory stimulations. The audience takes on the role of the sporting spectator, challenging the dynamics of viewing traditionally masculine pastimes.
Stills from performance