Cats of Athens

This are 3 of the 5 videos which were exhibited in our collective exhibition
“Le Mâle” in la Nef-Le Noirmont Switzerland.

Time: Loop around 20mins
Artist concept, directed, produced,editing: Jazmin Taco
Year: 2019
I filmed with my cellphone and edited my self.

Time: Loop around 20mins
Artist concept, directed, produced,editing: Jazmin Taco
Year: 2019
I filmed with my cellphone and edited my self.

Time: This video is only the trailer, the full video is 4 hours and 45 mins
Artist concept, directed, produced,editing: Jazmin Taco
Year: 2019
I filmed with my cellphone and edited my self.

Woman Artist in a Male World
I have been working since 2016 with this topic, pain and love. In my master
thesis one chapter was dedicated to a very difficult time in my life, when I was forcefully separated from my daughter. My experience of being a foreign woman, a person of color (half Indian “Quechua” and half mestizo from Ecuador) and an artist in Switzerland is somewhat traumatic. Maybe if I had given in to the system a little more I would still have custody over my daughter.
If I had stayed with my daughter’s father and lived as he and his family wanted, they might not have fought in order to take my daughter away from me. If I had not chosen to study performance art, my ex might not have left me. I only reflect… If I had acted in a way that men and institutions expect from a woman, especially from a foreign woman like me: person of color would I still be with my daughter?
My psychologist told me, after they took my daughter away, that pretty women and artists still have a difficult time. It felt good that she thinks I’m beautiful, she knew exactly how to make me feel better. I guess there are lot of social codes here that I don’t fully understand as a person of color, a female artist with a diverse background. I don’t adapt to social codes easily. Since my childhood I have been used to being open towards different cultures, as they exist in my closest family. It would be nice to find this openness wherever I try to live as woman and artist…

Cats and my Daughter
I came to Athens for a one-month art residency. During this time I did not seemy daughter, I feel the nostalgia of giving love and care to my daughter but I’m not allowed. I was walking in the streets of Athens and noticed that there were a lot of cats living on the streets.
These cats connect me with my daughter. When I was living with her, for her fifth birthday I gave her as a present a baby cat. The cat and she grow up together and love each other. When my daughter and I got separated, we also got separated
from the cat, neither me nor her have the cat. I want to give the cats the love I can’t give to my daughter and reconnect myself with her again.

At the same time the Children’s protection Institution KEBS put my daughter in a children‘s house, they ordered me to undergo a psychological study that lasted 6 months. The result of that psychological study is about 60 pages long. And the final order of the institution KEBS is about 16 pages. The text of this documents are the subtitle of the videos.

Subtitle of the video:
I have translated to English the Decision of the Child and Adult Protection Authority (KESB) Mittelland Nord, and I have use it as subtitles of the cat videos.

Brief extract from the KESB decision:

  • By letter of 02.03.2016, The Father applied for joint parental care and,
    accordingly, the care of his Daughter. He worries about the welfare of his
    daughter, because she is not sufficiently cared for by her mother. He was
    according to his psychiatrist capable of education, and his parents were able to
    support him in the care and education of Chantal Sporri Taco.
  • In the declaration of 21.03.2016 (receipt: 08.04.2016), Wohlen Social Services
    requested the preparation of a report on the well-being and future health of
    Chantal and the question of the allocation of parental custody and other possible
    child protection measures.
  • By submission of 14.04.2016 requested the legal representative of the child’s
    father, the factual care of Chantal to be immediately assigned to the child’s father.

In my master thesis I was trying to understand my emotions and why I do what I do. For my reflexion, I found it very helpful to read the book The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.

Motherly love by its very nature is unconditional. Mother loves the newborn infant
because it is her child, not because the child has fulfilled any specific condition, or
lived up to any specific expectation.
But while father does not represent the natural world, he represents the other pole
of human existence; the world of thought, of man-made things, of law and order, of
discipline, of travel and adventure. Father is the one who teaches the child, who
shows him the road into the world.
I understand that in the world we live in is psychologically male and patriarchal. The
education of a child is based on a patriarchal system. I realized that the
psychological report that the Children Institution in Bern made, was totally male
psychology since the beginning. No matter what I could say or do, I would never
manage to stay with my daughter. Specially for me as a woman artist of colour.

Cats my nails and the male judgment of beauty

My extremely long fingernails have become a tool which I use in my artistic
practice since 2010 to make my sculptures and painted objects. My nails are my
extended body. For me it is easier to paint or make details of the sculptures with
my nails, because they are directly connected to my body and it is more precise.
I figured out my own method of ‘tectonic’ painting with my nails. I have had very
long nails for ten years already. Before studying art, I trained as an aesthetician
in Switzerland, that’s also a reason why my art is influenced by ‘contemporary
beauty’ which is exaggerated and reflected in my artistic practice. I like to reflect
and play with the male judgment on a woman’s beauty and body codes. The
cats don’t like my nails, they are very scared of my nails.

When I try to touch a cat, the cat can feel my nails and gets aggressive, runs away or love it. I guess they associate my nails to claws, claws of a human – that must to be very confusing
for them? That’s what I want to figure out new ways for me to get closer to the
cats and get their trust to let me touch them with my human Claws.

Cats of Athens the Interview

When I see the cats I see myself and my daughter as a survival of the system
made by man. The cats live in an under ground city. Like a woman artist they have
to find ways to be suspicious to survive. And most of the time in the underground.
I’m also very fascinated with how our brain works when we are close to a cat.
I have read some research online that states that touching the skin of the cats,
cats purring and petting cats increases the dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin
production on the brain which helps humans with depression, pain, hearth illness.
Now that I’m separated from my daughter I want to be happy even if that
happiness on the brain lasts just some minutes. I try to find ways to get closer to
the cats and see if they trust me and let me touch them.
I’m curious if the cats give women happiness in times of crisis?
Some research says that Cats increases longevity, maybe thats one of the reasons why woman live longer as man?
The presidents of the cats organisations in Greece are all woman, the members of
the cats organisations in Greece are %95 woman!
I Have interview 10 woman which rescue and take care of the street cats in Athens.

I’m very thankful to this lovely woman for taking their time to share they
experience, their love to cats and answer my 62 questions about the patriarchal
system, love, sex, art, cats, body fluids, the woman body, hormones,
menstruation, live, crisis and much more…..


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