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Kate Coutier

first performed on March 15, 2018
Gallery 244, University of Massachusetts, New Bedford, MA
performed once in 2018


New Bedford, MA


Performance, ceramic arts, galleries, and institutions of learning have an extensive masculine dominated history. “Un govern able” questions this history by interjecting feminist values and presence.

Within an enclosed gallery room, with one double door open to allow the viewers to watch, were six 5 gallon buckets filled with porcelain clay slurry that had been dyed different colors. Before entering the performance space, music began to blast loudly throughout the room and echoed down the outside hallways of female musicians and vocalists. Shortly after the music began, I came walking in from the outside hallway dressed in high femme attire.

When I first entered the room, I walked around the space as if showing off my choice of attire. Slowly, I began to dip my arms into a single bucket of clay, and then quickly began to thrash the clay on the walls. I stayed with one bucket’s color for a couple of thrashes, then would transition to using my whole body against the walls to continue marking the space where the clay was thrown. My body was moving with the music but also was very forceful, aggressive, and sensual at the same time. I continued on with each bucket of clay, often alternating between colors. Once all the buckets were empty, I began to scoop the clay off of the floors and continued to sling and throw it onto the walls.

My halter dress was so heavy with clay that it began to fall off of my body. As this occurred, I began to get more aggressive and forceful with the clay, and threw my body against the walls even harder to the point that I began to have a nose bleed. I watched as the blood dripped down my face and mixed into the clay that was beginning to crust on my chest. There was no specific end time to the performance, but this performance lasted three hours. Many people stayed for 30 minutes to an hour, then would come back later to watch more. The performance concluded with me falling onto the floor amidst the slurry of clay, in the nude, dripping in blood and breathing heavily. The environment created by the performance remained in the gallery for two weeks for viewers to see and read a statement about what had happened during the performance.