Woman with a Manifest: Matilde Digmann

Matilde Digmann ‘Pseudo’ Graphisk Roman. Basilisk 2021

Jeg er her for frihed, ærlighed, sårbar­hed, gender-fluidity, for kærlighed.

Det var usansynligt at jeg skulle blive en kanal for lyset. Det jeg kommer fra er så mudret, så mørkt – men jeg skulle igennem de dybeste lag for at forstå, at jeg er lys. Hver gang jeg har ramt bunden, er jeg blevet vist at jeg kan gå højere – at vi alle har et valg. At vi kan give slip på frygt og være i tillid til at alt udfolder sig præcis som det skal. Og vide at dét at være i overgivelse – i nuet – er lig med at være i vort højeste selv.

Skyggearbejde handler om at bevidstgøre sig skyggen (de sider af os selv vi ikke kan eller vil se og anerkende) – ikke at skubbe dem væk, løbe fra dem eller lade som om de ikke eksisterer – men i stedet vende os om og integrere mørket. Og dermed erkende at vi er begge dele: både lys og skygge. Jeg kaster min skygge ud i rampelyset for at integrere den i os alle, for at hjælpe os til at forstå at vi ikke behøver at gøre vores skygge forkert og udskamme den – men at vi kan se den for hvad den er – et bange dyr, en ego-skal bygget for at beskytte os. Se at vi er født uskyldige – som ren kærlighed.

Jeg arbejder for at kaste lys ind i den kollektive skygge – for at blotlægge mis­forhold i den dominerende kultur. For at frisætte os fra den programmering og radikalisering vi er blevet udsat for gen­nem en opvækst i et kapitalistisk patriar­kat. Når jeg ser på kønnene, og mine egne oplevelser som biologisk kvinde – ser jeg en dyb diskrepans. Jeg ser en enorm for­skel på begrænsningerne af den ydre og indre frihed der er for kønnene hver især. Jeg er nødt til at pege på dobbeltmoralen og hykleriet i et samfund der systematisk seksualiserer kvinder og som så – når kvin­der agerer åbenlyst seksuelt – vender sig om og udskammer dem for det. Et sam­fund hvor mænd programmeres til at un­dertrykke følelser, til at lukke ned. Dette systemiske svigt kommer til udtryk som konstante indviduelle kampe om at få det godt, som enten kæmpes eller fortrænges, og som vi ikke kan vinde på et individu­elt niveau. Det er et system der fratager os vores evne til at elske frit, og det er på tide vi bliver fri af det.

Jeg er her for frihed, ærlighed, sårbar­hed, gender-fluidity, for kærlighed.

matildedigmann.dk


Matilde Digmann ‘Pseudo’ Graphisk Roman. Basilisk 2021

“Pseudo” by Matilde Digmann

Resorce : Gabriele Di Fazio / Just Indie Comics

Anthropomorphic animals, online dating, drugs, sex, shame, inability to relate to others. In short, the usual old story. Indeed no. Pseudo by Matilde Digmann fits into a genre that is now highly exploited, that of problematic animals that do bad things, but manages to have her say. Mat – this is his stage name, given that he defines himself “a non-binary multidisciplinary artist and author” – first of all he paints and sculpts. He has a studio in Copenhagen full of his creations. Enter the world of comics as an outsider and in this Pseudo, a volume of 366 pages in English with a beautiful mirror cover published by the Danish Forlaget Basilisk, this is evident. The story continues in small episodes, almost by accumulation. There is no great sense of rhythm. The drawings are raw, dark, not at all cute and in any case far from the dominant aesthetic, dropped in a black and white that cannot be blacker. All this allows Mat to get out of the sowing of today’s alternative comics, avoiding ending up in the long list of Simon Hanselmann’s emulators.

The story written by Mat talks about the almost homonymous Cat, an anthropomorphic cat who after 9 years breaks up with her boyfriend and begins a “crazy year” made up of new acquaintances, transgressive evenings and – inevitably – self-harm. Pseudo begins with the protagonist signing up for a dating site, while she spends her days indoors with Ted, a traditional four-legged cat. The first pages of the volume are the weakest and most obvious, with many situations that they already know. Then after a while things take off. Meeting after meeting we witness a gallery of men who are idiots at best, manipulative bastards at worst. In front of them the protagonist is unable to react, on the contrary, most of the time she is satisfied or even submits. The story stops being banal and becomes a psychological crescendo that plumbs Cat’s unconscious search for unhappiness.

The plot is inspired by the personal stories of Matilde Digmann, who after nine years of marriage has changed her life in a radical way. For more details, I refer you to this article / interview, which rightly frames Pseudo as a feminist parable. But there is more, for us who are lovers of the strange. For example, there is a talking spider that turns from a threat into the protagonist’s shoulder. In a chapter entitled Bad Trip, the spider enters Cat’s brain to find a wasteland populated only by giant cocks. Towards the end, a flashback shows us the encounter with a sort of “cat god” with a third eye: the same third eye that appears every now and then on Cat’s forehead before a few encounters, making her even more ashamed – if any needed – of his body.

“Pseudo” by Matilde Digmann

The finale sees the final confrontation between Cat and her latest boyfriend, even worse than the former historian. Turns out the guy is married and the father of a little girl, who he hasn’t been able to see since he hit his wife with a metal pipe. Unfortunately the last pages are broom with the initial ones, because – even taking into account that the volume is presented as the first of a trilogy – they close the story in an all too hasty way. Pseudo works fine from p. 70 on p. 341, and in any case 272 pages, so they are enough and advance. What then in these times, when novice authors tend to always look for the “round” comic with all the right ingredients and the graphic novel is a genre rather than a format, making a comic a little wrong can also be a positive thing.

The main merit of Pseudo remains its being an original feminist parable. Mat does not indulge in easy theses or didactic dissertations. With the technique of accumulating characters and situations, he rather tells the tendency to submission of the main character and the pettiness of the male gender, so much so that in some passages he reaches pure misanthropy. Beyond this, the book would be worth the cover price only for the drawings, which in their tarry black and white bring us back to less colorful and certainly more glorious times than today.

In conclusion, here are some useful links, namely Mat’s site, the Instagram page and finally his online shop where you can buy the volume.

matildedigmann.dk

matildedigmann (instagram)

Pseudo


It was unlikely that I would become a channel for the light. What I come from is so muddy, so dark – but I had to go through the deepest layers to understand that I am light. Every time I have hit rock bottom, I have It was unlikely that I would become a channel for the light. What I come from is so muddy, so dark – but I had to go through the deepest layers to understand that I am light. Every time I have hit rock bottom, I have been shown that I can go higher – that we all have a choice. That we can let go of fear and be confident that everything unfolds exactly as it should. And knowing that being in surrender – in the now – is equal to being in our highest self.

Shadow work is about becoming aware of the shadow (the sides of ourselves we cannot or will not see and acknowledge) – not pushing them away, running away from them or pretending they do not exist – but instead turning around and integrating the darkness. And thus recognize that we are both: both light and shadow. I cast my shadow into the limelight to integrate it into all of us, to help us understand that we do not have to make our shadow wrong and shame it – but that we can see it for what it is – a scared animal, an ego shell must be built to protect us. See that we are born innocent – as pure love.

A society where men are programmed to suppress emotions, to shut down.

I work to shed light on the collective shadow – to expose disparities in the dominant culture. To free ourselves from the programming and radicalization we have been subjected to through growing up in a capitalist patriarchy. When I look at the sexes, and my own experiences as a biological woman – I see a deep discrepancy. I see a huge difference in the limitations of the outer and inner freedom that exist for the sexes each. I have to point to the double standards and hypocrisy of a society that systematically sexualises women and who then – when women act openly sexually – turns around and shames them for it. A society where men are programmed to suppress emotions, to shut down. This systemic failure manifests itself as constant individual struggles to get the good that is either fought or repressed and that we cannot win on an individual level. It is a system that deprives us of our ability to love freely, and it is time we become free from it.

I am here for freedom, honesty, vulnerability,

gender-fluidity, for love

Shadow Work Podcast

matildedigmann.dk


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