• A Festival of Ideas
  • May 2 - 5, 2024
  • Guelph

Radical tenderness is…

Radical tenderness is to be critical and loving, at the same time

Radical tenderness is to understand how to use strength as a caress

Radical tenderness is to know how to accompany one another,
among friends and lovers, at different distances and speeds

Radical tenderness is writing this text at the same time, from two faraway continents
From the same bed
Writing whilst caressing

Radical tenderness is to know to say “no”
Is to carry the weight of another body as if it were your own
Is to share sweat with a stranger

Radical tenderness is to dance among dissident bodies in a workshop
To be completely overwhelmed and maintain our smiles and festivities

Radical tenderness is to allow yourself to be seen; to allow yourself to be taken

Radical tenderness is to not collapse in the face of our contradictions

Radical tenderness is to not allow our existential demons to become permanent cynicisms
It is to not always be the same people/persons
Is to embody in lak’ech

Because you are my other me
And vice versa

Radical tenderness is to not be afraid of fear

Radical tenderness is to live ephemeral love
Is to invent other temporalities

Radical tenderness is to embrace fragility
Is to confront others’ neurosis with creativity

Radical tenderness is to embody performative gestures that you would normally reject

Radical tenderness is to assume leadership when your community asks it of you,
although you many not know what to do,
or how to do it!

Radical tenderness is to lend your guts to others
Is to wear your lover’s pussy as a beard
Is to risk loving against the grain

Radical tenderness is to believe in the architecture of affects
Is to find one another from the muscles closest to the bone
Is to believe in the political effect of internal movements

Radical tenderness is to not insist on being the center of attention
Is to have peripheral vision; to believe in what cannot be seen

Radical tenderness is to turn a tremor into a dance and a sigh into a mantra
Is to dissent with maximum respect
To transit in spaces you do no understand

Radical tenderness is to accept the ambiguous
Is to not initiate all thought by navel gazing
Is to break with affective patterns, without clear expectations

Radical tenderness is to share dreams, wildness
To tune in with, not empathize with
It is to find a galaxy in the eyes of another and not break the gaze
Is to read the body of another as a palimpsest

Radical tenderness is to channel irresistible energies and convert them into indomitable embodiments
Is to activate sensorial memory
Is to recognize the other by their scent

Radical tenderness is to feel the possibility in every doubt
Is to allow yourself to be pierced by the unknown

Radical tenderness is to give a narcissist the option of adapting or rethinking their position

Radical tenderness is to embrace thorns

Radical tenderness is to coexist with lack
Is to face things head on by looking at them from the love of really wanting to see
Is to sustain ourselves from distinct places though not all of them are “beautiful”

Radical tenderness is a concept that is appropriable and ever-changing

Radical tenderness
Is something
That is not necessary
To define

Radical tenderness is a term that we discovered through working as part of the performance collective La Pocha Nostra. As pedagogues and performance artists, ex-members of the troupe, with this manifesto we want to honor its origin and its continuous reverberation in projects we are engaged with around the globe. This version was created through an online poetic jam started in 2015, as part of dani’s research on radical tenderness within the context of her MA at the independent studies program (MACBA, Barcelona). We asked ourselves, “what does radical tenderness mean for us, in our lives and work within and outside of lpn? Can tenderness be radical? Can radical be tender?”
We wish to thank all who have been part of this journey with us, particularly the founders of La Pocha Nostra, who began using the term in the 90s, the various artists that have worked with the troupe throughout the years and all who have participated in the multiple performance-pedagogy workshops in which we have been able to explore radical tenderness from different perspectives and practices.

Dani and Daniel are performance artists, transfeminist activists and educators. Since 2011, they have collaborated on several transcontinental performance and pedagogical projects as core members of La Pocha Nostra until 2016 (Dani from 2011, Daniel from 2014) and Proyecto Inmiscuir between 2015–17.