Gestures of Domestic Memories: a performative way-of-knowing

by Aída Herrera Peña,
2021, DE (in progress)

Project developed within the framework of Forecast Sixth Edition – Skills e.V. mentored by french choreographer Mathilde Monnier.

The human body seen as active material in constant transformation and the tool to perform ordinary tasks in ordinary circumstances for making a living, such as to care and maintain up to a certain standard other's private living spaces, is the point of departure to explore domestic work in Berlin, where a migrant body of work find a way to alleviate the struggles of life.

Nowadays, household services are an inevitable source of profit for enterprises and a practice for many humans when starting to make a living in foreign territories. As bodies in transition in their way of being, and in-between radically different worlds; coming from the Southern to the Northern hemisphere, they have found a source of income in the commonality of the human being in Western contexts, the domestic life.

Between the private and public constellations, this project explores the reality of domestic work through body gestures, intuition, and tacit and embodied knowledge, attempting to critically reflect on the performance of our domestic way of living at a socio-cultural and political level.

In a capitalist society where digital marketplaces exchange human bodies in the form of services, a migrant domestic worker shows us the daily life of household chores. From her self-consciousness, she takes us on a journey of gestures and sensations expressed in time, space, and movement. This short film-performance based on real events brings us a unique perspective about the everyday reality of domestic work and migration in Berlin, as well as a call to reflect on our daily performances.

CREDITSDirector and producer  <Aída Herrera Peña>Camera and Edition <Esteban Annon>Music composition <Andrés Ibagon>
Cast <Ruslana Massarova> <Aída Herrera Peña>

Aída Herrera Peña, Berlin-based design researcher with a background in audiovisual media production, dance, and industrial design with a focus on social studies - including performance studies -. Andrés Ibagon, Buenos Aires/Bogotá-based historian and artist with emphasis on Latin American and Argentinean theater and film studies. Art direction, script and sound design for media. Esteban Amon, Hamburg-based filmmaker and designer with a background in multimedia, fashion and editorial content. 


Contribution to Visualizing the Virus with an online pubilcation about the development of the project Gestures of Domestic Memories: A Performative Way-of-Knowing (Herrera, 2022).

Forecast Platform 6th Edition, Berlin 2022

Excerpts from the book Forecast Platform 6th Edition, Berlin, 2022.


Roundtable I have a problem with cleanliness at the Bauhaus Study Rooms 2022 with Adam Drazin (Moderator), Charlie-Anne Côté and Nancy Dayanne Valladares. Hybrid format, June 17th, 2022 at Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, DE.

“In the roundtable "I have a problem with cleanliness," Adam Drazin will discuss forms of cleaning in relation to design practices with Aída Herrera Peña, Charlie-Anne Côté, Nancy Dayanne Valladares and the audience. This panel starts with the premise that modes of cleaning are inherent in particular design practices. Therefore, the contributors will examine the production of cleanliness as a field of negotiations between materialities, modes and rules.” more


Participation at Openscreening in collaboration with Freilulftkino Insel, August 16th, 2023 at Ateliers Gardens, Berlin, DE.

Photos during the Openscreening at Ateliers Gardens, Berlin, 2023