Statement of process: Dynamic contradictions

Dickie Beau workshop Conversation with Fi - look at artists Jenny Saville and Dawn Kasper

Halberstam's article "Shame: A gay male thing?"

Actions in a room


I had a conversation with Fi, as I wanted to know more about her working methods and how she arrived at clarity of action. She gave me lots of brilliant things to think on, and reassurance:

The stage is the ultimate space where you're asking people to judge you, and you're not afraid

Bring the struggle on stage - we all attempt to find identities, and in the end this is an impossible task

There is no real you - whatever you put on is not right

Interrogate fluidity

conflict of identity

the failure to reach self-actualisation

But if you play something out, it happens, you become it (links to "we are what we repeatedly do"/Butler's notion of performativity

An audience feels when a performer is in their element

This is an attempt, an experiement

Secret fantasies on stage

Less is more

When did i feel most powerful on stage?

What is my fantasy stage self? What's the coolest thing I want to do?

What does binding make me want to do?

What act do I need to do?

Does the space change as i change?


When is one authentic?

How do others effect you?

How does one have an identified self?

How does one present a unified self?

How does on embody multiple selves?

What's the drive to find the "true" self?


This conversation combined with the Gomez-Pena reading brought some images to mind. Juxtaposing both constructs of identity in themselves, and this with the realness of the body. (i will describe these later)


The Dickie Beau workshop really solidified some ideas for me, and brought up interesting new ones:

the fact there is no real me

the dynamic contradiction that 

trying on (playing with the fiction of) other identities (or heightened versions of my own) can make me more real


i have non-essentialist view of the self, but only I can do this performance


What i feel i am, and what i present as effect each other

every performance is about the making of itself - undergoing its own deconstruction

performance as a site of knowledge making

"i think the liminal is fantastic"


"images so intense, they take on a life of their own"

becoming the thing to transcend it

"the dead again available for conversation"

performance is the attempt to not be alone in something


I'm particularly interested in the dynamic contradictions -

the body is real, but identity is a construct

(but identity becomes real once enacted - therefore seeming fixed, and the body is actually a constant process/in transition physiologically - therefore extremely queer)


- Halberstam's article on shame, spoke on the idea that we don't just need to reclaim it but ask why it's projected on us in the first place. And dismantle systems of shame. This kind of widens out my thinking of the job of this work.


So yesterday, I tried out some of the images buzzing around me head, Jak does things Jess never would -

Even though i'm not sure if I'm portraying my fantasy/most powerful self, making the body abject/making my existence known, or slamming juxtaposing identities together... there is probably a bit of all three in each image...

I made an image, and tried to do an action in each one. (bearing in mind the advice of Pena, avoid stereotyping or cliche, find with the heart and body not the mind)


1- Bound, In a suit top half, bottom half naked (in my head this image included menstrual blood flowing down me) beard made with vaseline and own hair

2- Bound, boxers stuffed with packing, little black dress, black heels, feather bower - action: masturbation

-3 Velvet bra, suspenders, white heels, red lipstick, "sick" written on my mid-drift in lipstick

action: urinating

4- leather kink dress, lipstick, smudged eye shadow

action: celotape around face

I also had an idea about writing "my existence will not be stamped out" in my own blood (which could come after the celotape as i have to cut it off), and bringing in passing stool as it were... but these are yet to be risk assessed...

I think in the room and watching the videos back this all feels quite weighty, and I think I do want to feel empowered by these actions and have fun... so perhaps there are more actions to be found there.

No sound also feels a little bare. I'm thinking maybe more structure is needed in general - as all these things are quite loaded.

- should the identity acts be live, and the bodily mediated (live stream) or vice versa? would this add anything?


I guess until i perform them, it's hard to tell if the idea of making my existence known (via the body) and attempting to bring the struggle of identity with me is translating. I am also obviously thinking a lot about my audience intention, but maybe they can feel disgusted, implicated and empowered all at once.....

also wondering if i have gone performance art mad, or am on to something.... time will tell!!!!

at least it feels like i am genuinely working something out in the room. I just want to make sure it's the thing i'm actually wanting to work out.