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.

A text that famously deals with motherhood, its ambivalence and paradoxical nature is  Kristeva’s ‘Stabat Mater’. I put the first paragraph of Kristeva’s ‘Stabat Mater’ to a tune by contemporary rock group Incubus, and shouted rather than sang over the sound of other artists dismantling a washing machine with sledgehammers, and the general din of art and audiences in this space.

Using performance to create a differentiated dispersal of meaning, it played on male posturing and language signifiers in music lyrics.

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