Images from experimental student work made in 1999
Man created the word was re-sited and re-created for VAIN Live Platform, Oxford, 2001
My first live art performance Man Created the Word (1999) used masquerade, clothing and ritual to present roles that exceed patriarchal edits of those that women might play.
In what I thought of as a ’ritualized shedding of personae’, I created a tableaux acting out gendered stereotypes. In full water-proofs I gutted fish, then peeled off the waterproofs to reveal a man’s pinstriped suit and 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’. Then 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 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 firmly in the hands of men. Religious power structures continue to control women’s bodies and experiences through word and image, and I began to explore ways that visceral smelly performances that were immediate in the use of the performed body and interaction with an audience could subvert the way that women are represented or missing.
Have a look at other feminist performance.