IN SEARCH OF THE FEMININE #2
The performance attempted to reclaim female subjectivity and offer a disruption to masculine desire and the supremacy of the phallus. Searching for femininity within the corporeality of the female body as futile. The work celebrated the leakages and effusions of the female body, to show the body as agentic and active, subverting the passivity and politeness of femininity and apparent deficiency of her genitals. The vagina was utilised to attempt to disrupt preconceptions and conventions, breaking taboos and showing what is never seen. The work was an exploration into the abject, the repulsion felt towards body fluids is inextricably linked to the body image and the normative desire for a perfect, sealed corporeality. Mary Douglas argues that the body functions to symbolise social obsessions and the orifices and surfaces represent places of social entry and exit—places of confrontation. The mucous marks the passage from inside to outside. The work questioned and disrupted the idea of a proper social body and confronted the viewer with its abjection and permeability, refusing containment and allowing seepage and immersion with bodily fluids and viscosity. The association of fluidity with femininity and corporeality and the viewer’s fear of contamination. The performance researched the idea put forward by Elizabeth Grosz of the association of femininity with formlessness, as liquidity and seepage.
The work comprised of the performance and a film. The moving image work was created using an endoscopic camera to film the inside of my vagina and was shown on an iPhone held between my thighs. The audience viewed the film reflected in a circular mirror, which I stood over. The performance took place within a gallery space, with the audience occupying the same physical space as myself. The audience were free to walk around me and approach or view from a distance, although they had to occupy my personal space in order to adequately view the film. Many approached me from behind to view the reflection of the film playing in the mirror, finding the close proximity difficult when face to face. Duration 23 minutes 10 seconds.