Using clothing and ritual in my first performance Man Created the Word in 1999, I worked through three characters, in what I thought of as a ’ritualized shedding of personae’. In tableaux form the performance acted out gendered ‘types’ -(fisherman/ ‘fishers of men’), business man in a formal suit, and mother.
I started in full water-proofs gutting fish, then peeling off the waterproofs to reveal a man’s pinstriped suit read and typed from the bible: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;… and the word, the word was with God’, connecting the moment in history where men took control of language and ‘creation’, I peeled off the suit to reveal a wedding dress. Putting on high heels and an apron, I crafted a baby out of lard.
A messy, smelly personal performance revealing bitterness at a culture that gives only lip service to women for the role they play in creating life and mothering, whilst patriarchy and power remain, even in our secular culture, in the hands of men through power structures and the control representation through word and image.