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
And yet there too,
We are caught in paradox