Paloma Bouhana
is an artist and designer working in spatial installation and design research, with a primary focus on performative art. She has been developing spatial concepts and scenographies for artists such as Laure Prouvost, Philippine Hoegen and Goda Palekaite. Her installations combine mediums like video, performance, scenography and costume design. Previously she developed different projects related to radical equality, feminist ethics of care or the social relationship of value-labor.


The performance is a 20-minute presentation of a portion of a mold-making process. It is supported by the recitation of a song and a short film that delves into family heritage, craftswomxnship, and contemporary labour conditions. I am bridging the preparation of moroccan maamoul tea biscuits with the plaster cast collection of the Art & History museum in Brussels.

As I discovered very recently, my great-grand mother arrived and settled in France with her five children from Casablanca, Morocco in 1950. Her and her husband opened a food stall in a covered market and every morning she was preparing pastries for the shop. I went to Bab Marrakech in Ixelles and looked for cookie-cutters, cake pans, biscuit moulds... I chose a few and reproduced them, the negative in plaster, the positive in wax, trying to detach their materiality from their significance.

As printmaking was defined as the “handmaiden of fine arts”, art history has described casting as one of the minor arts because of its reproductive capabilities even though (and maybe because) it is identified as a labour intensive art form. To make my own living I became an “artist assistant” and started to produce and reproduce work of other artists. At the occasion of my first solo performative-exhibition, I will draw a parallel between two generations of female labourers, my great grand-mother, Simi Bouhana, and me, the assistant. Why has the thinking that grows from physical labor has been relegated to the lower status? What effect has this had on art, not only on the ways in which it gets made but also on the values that get ascribed to these various kinds of making? Does art reflect our means of production?

TAP DANCING 2 (2022)
“I am looking at the invisible female body limbs at work. I am looking at how women rely on their feet all day while occupying their dirty jobs. Preparing food, cleaning floors, changing diapers and care-taking in general are considered to be jobs where a majority of women are trampling all day on their feet. Those women, often paid low wages, are asked to be wearing “personal protective footwear”. Discussing with women, working in the care industry, I noticed that this modern safety shoes are maybe protective from outside threats but with the tendency to forget about the health of the feet inside: excessive heat, inflexibility, weight and pressure, and so forth. For generations wooden shoes were the essential working shoe. The yellow poplar used to carve out the famous clog is known to mould itself to the shape of the feet, to protects them from dirt, viruses and bacterias and to absorb sweat, odours and shocks.”

This performance explores how, in the context of a highly gendered form of labour, the threats come less from external factors than from the physical and psychological engagement held by the dedicated workers. A set of different pairs of personal protective clogs are worn in order to help developing non-exploitative, non-hierarchical and reciprocal relationships between hands and feet, people and nature and women and men at work.

The common reed Phragmites australis is a tall perennial grass with long leaves that invades fresh and brackish wetlands. Farmers frequently kill it with herbicides. But despite its bad reputation, Phragmites provides many benefits that are generally unknown.
     A better approach would emphasize modifying stands of it to create habitat for particular species while maintaining its other valuable functions.

Since time immemorial, we’ve used nature in its purest form for most of our needs. Curved branches formed bows, two stones made a fire, vines formed rope to build huts with thatch roofs.

For this project we have been building a reed boat consisting only of bundle of reeds tied together with Palm fiber rope. The boat therefore has a homogeneous structure sourced from local materials, enabling its repair and sustainability.

In collaboration with Coline Gautier.


SEVERED TONGUES (2021)A set of chamotte earthenware plaques with texts from René Char’s Feuillets d’Hypnos (1946), inscribed with Andrea di Serego Alighieri.

a- Our inheritance was left to us by no testament (hommage à Arendt).
b- La source est roc, la langue est tranchée (hommage à Anne Carson).
c- Enfonce-toi dans l’inconnu qui creuse. Oblige-toi à tournoyer (hommage à Amelia Rosselli).

TAP DANCING 1 (2020)
Lucky girl, she’s got a crescent blade ornamented with 925 silver digitalis bells. Originally used by arctic women to skin or butcher, turns to cooking and sewing with some success.
    Its heavy duty 10 cm blade cuts up chicken for frying or broiling as easily as it slices meat loaf. Has a special rocking action that chops celery or nuts in a flash ! Finest acrylic handles turn into a crystal pendant. Use with either hand (provided, of course, you are ambidextrous).

Alpaca silver blade wax casted silver ornamen, acrylic handle.

As long distance trading grew over the age, it encouraged the exchange of culturally significant artefacts and beads became one the first form of currency in history. Trying to bring houseworks back into the social relationship of value-labor, I used glass beads stringed on a sort of net draped around our washing machine, preventing a proper access to the device.
    Threading 17000 tiny glass beads in 17hours. Imaterialising a certain type of invisible daily domestic task.

"In the text ‘Wages Against Housework’ (1975) you [Federici] refer to the problem of women’s work (even waged) as the impossibility of seeing where ‘work begins and ends’.

Money is capital.

Capital is power to order work.”

One element of the housewife uniform : the orthopaedic clog. The tool of an imaginary lady’s feet made by hand.
What could be more comfortable than your own footprint ? Look at the bottom of your bare foot. Then look at the shape of this shoe. Look at your big toe and then look at the reflexology map carved into the sole of the clog, linking body parts to certain organs.
How alternative forms of labour exchange, could provide one way in which subjects can partially operate outside the waged economy. A reflection on radical equality and a feminist ethic of care to show how embodied and everyday practices like time-banking could enable subjects to challenge the inequalities of waged work and in terms, partially construct alternative ‘distributions of the sensible’.

Creation of a representation for the exchange of time between each other and design of a symbolic currency backed by trust between practitioners within a community, rather than by gold or state authority. Can this token of exchange be imagined ? Can this utopian collective care be represented ? Can I materialise the weight of the mental workload carried by women ?