December 2014

Bodies That Matter 3

Rachael House · Chris Cawkwell · Alex March · Sasha Bowles · Suzanne de Emmony · Jane Harris

In September 2013, a group of artists performed an install at Space Station Sixty-Five. The intention was to take Judith Butler's assertion that '...gender is not something that one is, it is something that one does' (1990:62) and apply it to our practices rather than our gender. Could we ask whether artistic production is not inherently subjective, but an oft-repeated performance, bound and limited by language and convention.

Honestly?

These questions were not answered, in fact, they were barely addressed. Maybe because of the reference to the body in the title, what emerged was something altogether more base. The work and the conversation was visceral, it was not the detached, theoretical, (dry?), response we had feared.

The same thing happened at the ensuing exhibition 8 months later at ArtLacuna. Artists were asked to respond to the themes that had surfaced at the install, those being the constraints of language, consumption, (both bodily and economic), and performativity. Yes, these themes were addressed, but what was striking was the secretive, hidden nature of much of the work, compounded by the curation which made viewing the work a physically awkward, sometimes uncomfortable experience.

The visitor/viewer became the voyeur.

And so we had the starting point for this publication...