Singing Theory

Singing Theory, Custard Factory, B’ham, January 2003

An evening of performance by AAS, ‘We Are Relentless’, was a showcase of works revealing artistic process. I develop work through theoretical texts yet one of the problems for artists is translating theory into visual, engaging art. Deciding to use performance to create a differentiated dispersal of meaning, and play on male posturing I chose a text that  famously deals with motherhood,  Julie Kristeva’s ‘Stabat Mater’ and sang it.

Kristeva’s text is about motherhood and its ambivalence and paradoxical nature and I sung the words using a tune by contemporary rock group Incubus – I say sung – it was actually shouted  –  over the din of other artists dismantling a washing machine with sledgehammers.

Stabat Mater lyrics (the paradox:mother or primary narcissism by Julia Kristeva)

If it is not possible

To say of a woman

What she is

(without running the risk of abolishing her difference)

would it perhaps be different

concerning the mother,

since that is the only

function of the ‘other sex’

to which we can definitely

attribute existence?

And yet there too,

We are caught in paradox