Singing Theory, Custard Factory, B’ham (2003)

An evening of performance by AAS called ‘We Are Relentless’ was a showcase of works revealing artistic process. Many artists process ideas 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 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 (section from The paradox :mother or primary narcissism by Julia Kristeva, from Moi, T., 1986)

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.

Have a look at other performances made in collaboration with AAS. Bag Lady.