WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE
JULIA CLAIRE WALLACE / JEANETTE JOY HARRIS
“Women of a Certain Age,” was performed by Jeanette Joy Harris and Julia Claire Wallace and exposed the marginalization, power, and creativity found within the aging female body. Structured as a triad, “Women,” focused specifically upon the tension between active and passive modes of embodiment utilizing visual, vocal, and movement-based actions. Section one began with an installation where Wallace laid on the floor with a shining flashlight embedded within her vagina. Strings connected to the flashlight extended into the performance space, and at the end of each string was a piece of raw meat. Through this, a transparent obstacle course was constructed within which Harris walked, slid, and danced. In section one, Wallace acted as a physical point of origin and Harris explored its limitations.
Section two consisted of Wallace relating an old, misogynist joke to the audience: A man asks a woman if she would have sex for a million dollars. She contemplates this and says yes. He then goes on to ask her if she would suck his dick for five dollars. The woman is offended by the proposal and says no. When she asks him why he would suggest such a demeaning exchange he responds, “We have established what you are, now we are just negotiating the price.” Using the joke’s framework, Wallace expands upon the ideas embedded within it, interrogating women’s access to vital economic resources within a patriarchal structure.
Section three consisted of Wallace performing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” cabaret-style, dragging the raw meat behind her, while Harris filled her mouth with pearls and rhinestones. At the conclusion of the song, Wallace collapsed to the ground, invoking her position in the opening installation. Harris, then spewed pearls and rhinestones onto Wallace as a kind of commoditized ejaculate. Through this triad Harris and Wallace constructed an architecture that visually demonstrated the tension between passive and active embodiment, articulated the economic limitations of embodiment, and, finally, ruptured that structure through a decadent, rebellious celebration.
This piece was performed three times in 2019, including: ITINERANT Festival (NYC), PGH-PAF (Pittsburgh), and Vanishing Festival (New Orleans). Though the materials used in the piece were consistent between each performance, each iteration was slightly different, taking advantage of the architecture of each venue and reinventing modes of interaction between performers.