LASTESIS’ transnational monster

by Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto

LASTESIS SENIOR, the massive performance of “Un violador en tu camino” held at the National Stadium in Santiago de Chile, December 4, 2019. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpIHsXoJAkk

My mother performed LASTESIS’ feminist intervention “Un violador en tu camino” (A Rapist in Your Path) with her daughter-in-law and mother-in-law at the entrance of the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile.[1] [open endnotes in new window] This massive iteration of the viral performance was known as LASTESIS Senior, and my mother, who is over sixty years old, was one of the estimated four to six thousand women who arrived at the Stadium. The performance took place during the demonstrations that began in October 2019 against the structural inequalities that plague one of the most unequal and neoliberal countries in the world. Commonly known as “el estallido” (“the social outburst”), this unprecedented uprising was met with brutal State repression that mutilated demonstrators’ eyes using rubber bullets and pellets, and in many cases the police also sexually abused women.

LASTESIS’ “Un violador en tu camino” travelled rapidly to the North and was performed in The Mission at San Francisco, California, December 10, 2019. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWe8ZAt1OmM

A few days later, my Catalonian and Mapuche girlfriends and I, a Chilean, performed “Un violador en tu camino” in Dolores Park in the Mission District of San Francisco with a group of around fifty women. Our own iteration was much smaller than the one held in the National Stadium, but our racialized bodies of mostly Latin American women who came together in solidarity with the peoples of Chile disturbed the quiet landscape of what was once a historically Latinx barrio and today is one of the most gentrified neighborhoods of the Bay area.

The South-North trajectory that I describe here signals the rapid circulation of this feminist performance created by LASTESIS, which swiftly travelled through social media across the Americas and beyond, despite being culturally and politically grounded. First staged by dozens of women in the Chilean port of Valparaiso as a response to patriarchal violence, the performance resonated powerfully with women all around the globe.

This map developed by Geochicas, a feminist collective of cartographers, shows the places in which “Un violador en tu camino” has been performed around the world. Each pin on the map at the website below has a link to where you can see a video of the performance in that place. Last updated May 5, 2022. Source: https://geochicas.org/index.php/que-hacemos/proyectos/mapa-un-violador-en-tu-camino/

The performance itself is built on elements that can be learnt quickly—the lyrics (“The oppressive State is a rapist male,” “And it was not my fault, or where I was, or how I was dressed”); a choreography not difficult to grasp (a few minutes of practice would suffice as perfection was not a goal); a DIY gown (a black blindfold plus a sexy outfit one might wear to go out at night); and a sticky techno yet martial tune. This deceitful simplicity made this performance mushroom from Chile to Mexico, from Mozambique to France on a scale that still surprises its creators. It had a self-organizing dimension, not “owned” by its creators but instead open to reappropriation and adaptation. The performance’s radical intersectionality and inclusiveness helped transform “Un violador en tu camino” into a transnational phenomenon. As Noelia Figueroa Burdiles asserts, “Un violador en tu camino" was a pedagogical project of feminist communication that became a veritable "transcultural ritual," which went well beyond identity politics and enabled a polyphonic denunciation against sexual violence regardless of age, class, race, or ethnicity (271-273).  

The group LASTESIS is an interdisciplinary feminist collective created in 2018 in Valparaiso, Chile, by Daffne Valdés, Paula Cometa, Lea Cáceres and Sibila Sotomayor. They come from different artistic backgrounds but share the need to bridge the gap between feminist theory and practice and to bring the work of influential feminist thinkers such as Silvia Federici, Virginie Despentes and Rita Segato to wider audiences (hence the group’s name: las tesis means “the theses” in English). They work using different media and artistic practices, from music videos to performances in public spaces. The group describes their method as a “collage”—a concept drawn from the visual arts which enables them to avoid hierarchies as they create a synthesis of a given idea through images.

The collaborative aspect is fundamental in their project. They explain that as a group they function within a non-hierarchical structure. In addition, in their projects they strive to articulate the collective dimension of art in an expansive way; this principle translates most evidently to the open calls they do inviting women and sexual dissidents to join their performances. They see themselves as a channel that brings women together (as an inclusive category) using feminist, queer and decolonial perspectives.[2]

The collective’s most renowned work is the aforementioned public performance, “Un violador en tu camino,” but they have also remained active during the pandemic. LASTESIS have made music videos (a remade of Los Prisioneros’s anti-machista anthem “Corazones rojos” [Red Hearts]) and created performances such as “Hoy, hundimos el miedo” (Today, We Drown the Fear). This intervention commemorated the popular uprising of October 2019 with a group of people wearing black veils and who threw the current Constitution of Chile imposed by Pinochet into the ocean. Under quarantine, they took advantage of the new aesthetic possibilities brought about by online platforms such as Zoom and created “Nos roban todo, menos la rabia” (They Steal Everything from Us, Except Our Rage), a powerful collaborative video-performance that emerged as a response to the increase of domestic violence during the pandemic.

LASTESIS’ “Nos roban todo, menos la rabia,” made under lockdown during Covid-19, visibilized the increase of domestic violence suffered during the pandemic. Click on link to see video. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzwYRB8cAxk

We are pleased to reproduce here a preview of the forthcoming English translation of their book Quemar el miedo: Un manifiesto (written in collaboration with journalist Alejandra Carmona and originally published in 2021 by Planeta), which will be released by Verso in 2023. Although the publication is framed as a manifesto, they would rather think about this book as an invitation to dialogue and a call to intervene in the world:

“When they told us they wanted us to write a manifesto, we said that manifestos are truths, point by point; they are precepts, and we have more questions than answers. Our invitation is to dialogue, to debate and eventually, a call to action, while bearing in mind that feminism is plural: it’s feminisms” (“LASTESIS: ‘El feminismo no es una meta’”).

In the chapter that we reproduce here, LASTESIS reflect on interconnected issues, including

They conclude by affirming their commitment with the ever growing “transcontinental monster” that the internationalist feminist movement has become.


1. This was a highly symbolic place to stage the performance as the National Stadium was used as a concentration camp and a torture center during the early days of Pinochet’s dictatorship. [return to text]

2. These paragraphs are largely based on LASTESIS presentation of their work in “Disidencia y Resistencia: A Conversation with LASTESIS,” organized by Alicia del Campo and held virtually in CSU Long Beach on April 26, 2022.


Figueroa Burdiles, “Comunicación feminista y arte performático: El proyecto político del Colectivo LASTESIS.” Revista Nomadías, nº29, Dec. 2020, pp. 257-279, https://revistas.uchile.cl/index.php/NO/article/view/61068/64801

Tapia, Javiera. “LASTESIS: El feminismo no es una meta.” COOLT, 19 July, 2021, https://www.coolt.com/libros/lastesis-feminismo-no-es-meta_104_102.html

(Go to LASTESIS manifesto)