Like many important things, it evolves gradually and then suddenly. At the beginning everything is ok, even nice and romantic, until it turns out that you do everything wrong. Suddenly you are controlled, your belongings, choices, self-esteem and even thoughts are taken away, replaced by freezing fear and shame. Or – you are a kid, you have a house and parents and that’s exactly what a kid needs. But then you understand that something is wrong at home, that there is something happening that should not be taking place. Yet, the whole world of yours is made of your parents, you don’t know another life and even if you did, there is no place to go.

We were told that silence is golden. We learned it’s not and it has not been for very long. Every third woman in Latvia and every fourth in Estonia has experienced violence at home. More than 80% of cases are never reported and only women know what happened. But it’s not a secret anybody should carry alone.

“Physical Evidence Museum” is an exhibition in an ordinary Tallinn apartment made of everyday things that have been collected with the help of many women in Estonia, Poland and Latvia. All the objects on display are witnesses of domestic violence yet they would never be accepted as credible evidence in court or police.

As part of the exhibition, a 14-hour public reading marathon of personal stories will take place with the support of volunteers in Estonian. It takes place from 12:00 on 28.08 till 02:00 on 29.08 and it can also be followed online via the SAAL Biennal experimental format „eˉlektron signal. SAAL Biennaal radio” channel: elektron.art/signal/physical-evidence-museum-reading-marathon.

Dance artist Jana Jacuka and dramaturg Laura Stašāne started to explore the subject of domestic violence in Latvia in 2019 and this is their second piece together. Jana is a performance artist and choreographer, who also works in theatre. Laura did festival and production work before turning to dramaturgy.