Skip to content

Coco Fusco

The Incredible Disappearing Woman


The Incredible Disappearing Woman, performance (2003),  

The Incredible Disappearing Woman, performance (2003)


The Incredible Disappearing Woman, performance (2003),  

The Incredible Disappearing Woman, performance (2003)



In Incredible Disappearing Woman

June, 2003
The In-Transit Festival, House of World Culture
Berlin, Germany

The Institute of Contemporary Art
London, UK

Sept 20, 2003
The TBA Festival
Portland, OR

October 10, 2003
The International Performance Festival
Pancevo, Serbia

In Incredible Disappearing Woman, Coco Fusco questions the intelligibility of political violence in an information–saturated culture dominated by technological simulation. Fusco suggests ways in which we as cultural consumers evoke and respond to larger social forces by putting radically divergent archetypes together in the confined space of a “live chat” room connected to the internet.

The audience in the theater watches a drama unfold that is directed by four off–stage characters who appear to be transmitting instructions via the internet to three characters on stage. What joins the characters in this work is their relationship with Death, embodied on stage as a modern incarnation of the venerated Mexican archetype of La Pelona (the bald one). She lies before the characters as a reminder of their limits, and as the other inside each of them. As Octavio Paz wrote in The Labyrinth of Solitude, “Death is a mirror which reflects the vain gesticulations of the living…Death defines life; a death depicts life in immutable forms; we do not change except to disappear. ”

The scenes on stage are devoted to fantasies about necrophilia that are loosely based on the true story of an American male artist who traveled to Mexico in the 70s to rent the body of a dead woman, have sex with her and document it as art. Fusco invokes this moment in the history of performance to explore what it means to have to play dead in order to live in all its political, techno–cultural and gendered implications. As the performers go through the requested sketches, they allude to real life situations of religious and political repression. However, as low–paid service workers catering to telematic consumers of violence, they dramatize these histories as endlessly rerun games in which actors are “meat puppets.”