Dragging Stones (2023)

The Burden of Stones

Philemon Mukarno crawling naked on the ground, with two large stones attached to his ankles by ropes. He drags the stones along with him, which is very heavy and painful. He has been doing this his whole life, but fortunately it becomes less heavy and easier over time. Eventually, he frees himself from the stones and can walk freely in the world.

nude man Dragging Stones

The Struggle of Queer People in a Religious Society

It is a struggle of queer people in a religious society that condemns and persecutes homosexuality. The stones are the burden of guilt, shame, fear, and violence that gay people have to endure because of their sexual orientation. The ropes represent the ties that bind them to their religion, which they cannot easily break. The crawling represents the humiliation and suffering that queer people face in their daily lives.


Resilience and Courage in the Face of Oppression

The performance also shows the resilience and courage of gay people who resist and overcome the oppression and violence they face. The gradual easing of the weight of the stones represents the gradual acceptance and liberation of queer people in some parts of the world. The final freeing of the stones represents the ultimate goal of queer rights: to live freely and openly without fear or discrimination.

The Body as a Medium of Artistic Expression

Mukarno uses his body as a medium of artistic expression, which is a common practice in performance art. He exposes his nakedness to the audience, which creates a sense of vulnerability and intimacy. He also exposes his pain and suffering, which creates a sense of empathy and compassion. He invites the audience to witness his ordeal, which creates a sense of involvement and participation.


Powerful Symbols in Performance Art

He also uses simple but powerful symbols to convey his message. The stones are a universal symbol of weight, hardness, and resistance. They contrast with the softness and fragility of his flesh. The ropes are a universal symbol of bondage, restriction, and control. They contrast with the freedom and movement of his spirit. The crawling is a universal symbol of lowliness, weakness, and submission. It contrasts with the dignity and strength of his character.

Challenging Prejudices and Stereotypes

It’s a powerful performance that challenges the audience to confront their own views and feelings about queerness and religion. It provokes them to question their own prejudices, stereotypes, and assumptions. It also inspires them to empathize with the plight of gay people who suffer from oppression and violence in many parts of the world.


Talent and Skill in Performance Art

Is also a beautiful performance that showcases the talent and skill of Mukarno as a performance artist. He demonstrates his physical endurance, mental focus, emotional intensity, and artistic creativity. He also demonstrates his ability to communicate effectively with his audience through his body language, facial expressions, and symbolic gestures.


A Performance that Transcends Cultural Boundaries

This performance deserves recognition and appreciation from both the art world and the general public. It is a performance that transcends cultural boundaries and speaks to universal human values. It is a performance that celebrates diversity and promotes tolerance.


The Importance of Freedom

Fundamental human right and it is worth fighting for. Mukarno’s performance is a powerful statement on the importance of freedom and the struggle that is often required to achieve it.


Overcoming Oppression through Sacrifice and Struggle

It’s a powerful statement on the oppression and violence that can occur within religious communities, specifically against queer. The performance is rich in religious symbolism. The act of dragging the stones is a metaphor for the struggle that is required to overcome this oppression and achieve freedom. The journey toward freedom is often difficult and requires great sacrifice, but it is worth it. Mukarno’s performance is a reminder that freedom is a fundamental human right, and it is worth fighting for.

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