Video still of On the Margin performance, 2003

On the Margin performance film, 3 mins St Ives, 2003 

Tulca, Ireland (2005), Wild Dog, London (2004)

SEEN Leicester, (2004)

The Phoenix,  Exeter (2003)

Serbia Performance Festival (2003)

This performance was sited on the shoreline near St Ives. The performance score was simply;

-laying out a linen cloth 20 metres long

-binding (rolling myself up in a huge )


-dragging the cloth down to the sea.

This was performed and filmed twice and then the resulting film was edited together with the 2 time frames.

The performance refers to the mother’s body as a liminal space, a boundary between life and death. Julia Kristeva writes of the female body as a margin that cannot be exceeded in phallo-centric discourse. My interest in using visual means to explore theory and discourse is to undermine and find ways of subverting or appropriating the meaning and representation of the female body. Playing with stereotypical associations and creating new connections between landscape, place and the female body aims to undermine patriarchal discourses, and psychoanalytic denial of Subjectivity.

The visual physical and theoretical movement in the performance have the intention to posit, renew, and

to construct a new subject position which makes women typical, where birthing is neither monstrous or abnormal, to find new models of the self and relationships and new ways of thinking identity’.

(Christine Battersby in Phenomenal woman: feminist metaphysics and the patterns of identity)

Here the female body is not associated with the land or sea, it is an-Other space between. The margin between the land and the sea is used as a metaphor for a liminal space where conscious and unconscious elide, and for transformation and change (‘becoming’).

The metaphor of rolling in cloth is obvious as the body is bound, encased and encoded, followed by an unravelling and freedom. I had not thought about other marginal space, the mother’s position between life and death. I realised when  viewing the film footage that the cloth has qualities of being both shroud and cocoon. The body looks mummified by the layers of linen and this in turn links it to religious iconography.


Watch a short edit of the 2003 film 





View other performances that explore the metaphysical, presence and the female body