Testis Stone (2023)

A Daring Performance on Gender Identity and Religious Oppression

Philemon Mukarno is a performance artist who works with nudity, gender, and spirituality. His performance “Testis Stone” is a daring exploration of the difficulties faced by individuals grappling with their gender identity in today’s society, especially within religious communities. In this article. We will examine the themes and impact of this provocative performance.

Philemon Mukarno is naked and he craw on the ground with stones hanging on his testicles

The Performance: Pain and Burden

It is a gender-related performance that involves hanging stones from the artist’s testicles and dragging them through his life. The performance is a powerful commentary on the oppression and violence faced by individuals who do not conform to traditional gender roles. During the performance, Mukarno crawls on the ground from the pain and drowns himself in water. Highlighting the emotional and physical toll of gender identity issues.

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Dragging stones

The act of dragging stones from his testicles becomes a metaphor for the weight and pain experienced by those navigating gender identity issues. The stones represent the societal expectations and norms that are imposed on individuals based on their biological sex. The dragging, struggle, and resistance that individuals face when they try to express their true identity. The water is the escape and relief that individuals seek from their suffering.

The Message: A Challenge to Societal Norms and Constructs

This is a powerful message about the difficulties of gender identity in modern society. The use of nudity, gender, and spirituality in his art is a unique and thought-provoking approach. By exposing his vulnerability and pain, he invites the audience to confront their own biases and preconceived notions about gender identity.


He also sheds light on the undercurrents of oppression and violence that often remain hidden within religious communities. Many religious traditions have rigid gender norms and roles that are enforced through social pressure, discrimination, or even violence. Individuals who do not fit into these norms or roles are often marginalized, persecuted, or abused.

Norms and structures

Mukarno’s performance challenges these norms and structures, urging individuals to question the validity of such oppressive systems. By pushing the boundaries of acceptability, he invites viewers to reflect on the impact of these norms and consider alternative paths toward freedom and self-expression.

The Impact: A Catalyst for Empathy and Dialogue

“Testis Stone” serves as a catalyst for empathy and dialogue. By immersing themselves in the experience of the performance, viewers are compelled to confront their own feelings and thoughts about gender identity. Through this shared experience, Mukarno encourages dialogue and compassion, fostering a more inclusive and accepting society.


It serves as a reminder that art has the power to ignite change and inspire dialogue, even in the face of adversity. Mukarno’s performance is a daring expression of his artistic vision and personal identity. He uses his art as a platform to raise awareness and spark conversation about important social issues.

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This is a powerful artistic expression that confronts the difficulties of gender identity in the face of oppression and violence within religious communities. Through his thought-provoking and daring act, Mukarno invites viewers to challenge societal norms, foster empathy, and strive for a more inclusive and accepting world.

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