On Focus: The Interior

performance, Viva! Art Action!, Montreal


The body has been perceived differently during different historical times. These perceptions evoke images that “talk” to each other, “argue” with each other and are often in an absolute disagreement. 

During the sixties and the seventies, feminists re-claimed the feminine and focused on female empowerment through a body with often explicit heterosexual identity and some traditionally considered female functions like giving birth. Challenging to this look at the body became the third wave of feminism, and–as Judith Butler’s definition of gender as a “to sustained set of acts attributed to particular individual or group of individuals.”  This definition of gender expanded the territory for womanness and has included variations of gender identities, that weren’t on the center of attention for many of the feminists back in the sixties.

On Focus: The Interior” is a homage to the “Interior Scroll” by Carolee Shneemann – perhaps one of my favorite feminist performance art pieces. Although this performance has been very inspirational to me, I have to admit that I belong to a different generation, therefore I can not just make a piece that celebrates earlier fellow feminists without adding something to it, or re-interpreting their work in a current contemporary context. I grew up at a time of rapid technological acceleration. New technologies produced new territories such as the worlds of computer games, mobile networking and the plastic surgery industry. These territories are inhabited by both misogyny and feminist thought and create new opportunities for enhancing them both. Through this piece I address these new appearings that newer generations of feminists have to deal with. The struggle did not end with the successes of earlier generations of feminists. Along with remains from the old challenges, we face new ones. More work has to be done for women to be equal.

During this piece I wear my “Amazon Armor” lens-bra, that magnifies my after-mastectomy scars. I take a piece of paper out of my vagina and read a text, part of which consists of contemporary offensive words that name the vagina. This is opposite to Schneemann’s text that was worshiping the vagina, as we know from historical descriptions of her piece. Meanwhile, I also comment on contemporary misogyny in a stand-up comedian style.