For this next project being a performance piece, I have come up with a couple loose ideas of which I am hoping to be able to work out the kinks. For the first idea I am kind of really stepping outside of my element, however feel that it could be a great thing for my artistic practice to do so. I have been focusing much thought on gender roles and biases lately. Within central African art history, research about feminine perspectives, representations, and roles within society has caused me to wrap my own feminist brain around these ideas to form opinions about the similarities and differences between genders, however, difficult when judging that of another culture. I’ve mainly come to find a large grey area shared between male and female genders of which I personally see no reason for a bias or role depiction at all. The culture I happened to study within central Africa has a ritual in which a male creates a feminine spiritual mask and then dresses up as a female, thus performing in front of a group of females his opinion of the “ideal” woman. A female in the crowd is then able to challenge this ideal if she believes that the masked man is not adequately representing the feminine role. This being said, one proposed idea I have for my performance piece is to somewhat mimic the mukanda masquerade ritual, however, do so by wearing a strap on penis over my clothes whilst doing various tasks. Some tasks may be random things I like to do such as climb a tree, drink hot tea and others strictly suggesting gender specific roles like cooking, cleaning, etc. I don’t think I will lean toward either sex, however, act as if within the grey area shared by men and women. Hopefully the strap on will enhance the concept of the piece, in that, it is a sexual item of which I plan to not even acknowledge.
Conversely, I have another idea of which has not developed as far but could have potential for this piece. This concept is completely unrelated to the other and rests more along the lines of sustainability. I am very infatuated by the cosmos and have learned of our search for another place within the universe to set up home due to our insolent pollution speeding up the Earths natural decaying process. Though I do love space very much, I would find it incredibly unfortunate to have to desolate this wonderful planet. This has brought to me a couple of performance ideas, however, they would need to be developed a bit more. One was to either wear a fishbowl full of polutants over my head to represent that of an astronaut in a sense or moreso to depict the horrible toxins we take in every day due to pollution. Or a gas mask may work better in order to signify the damage we have done to the air on our own planet as well as what it would be like to have to wear a breathing device at all times on another. Not exactly sure, but definitely still brainstorming and want to ultimately create an interesting as well as somewhat ambitious performance piece.