‘Hold onto me, Put your arms around me’: Queering identity, visibility, and affective identification in Erin Markey’s Boner Killer.

‘Hold onto me, Put your arms around me.’

Erin Markey, Boner Killer[1].

Erin Markey implores, sat on top of an audience member. The end of Boner Killer is approaching and Markey’s heart, way past her sleeve, is filling the stage through her mouth. Bathed in hot-pink light, Markey straddles her ‘are you my girl?’ candidate. Framed by her darkly humorous discourse around consent, Markey has covered her chosen audience participants face — I will call her her lov(oth)er — in black cloth. ‘Hold onto me, put your arms around me’. Somehow, we all do. ‘Ahh’, she sighs. This is exactly what I thought it was going to be like.

erinbonerkiller                                                                                                   Figure 1

Continue reading “‘Hold onto me, Put your arms around me’: Queering identity, visibility, and affective identification in Erin Markey’s Boner Killer.”


‘I… I… I…’ Performative Utterance in Between the Acts/ Proposing a Quasi-performative Literary Analysis (A longer piece).


Writing in her diary in 1939, Virginia Woolf recorded her first conception of Between the Acts[1] as a book in which “I” would be ‘rejected’ and ‘We’ substituted. To carry out this substitution, Woolf envisions an inclusive text, one composed of ‘many different things’. She defines her ‘We’, decisively indistinctly, as ‘we all life, all art, all waifs and strays ­– a rambling capricious but somehow unified whole ­­– the present state of my mind?’[2] Woolf sets up a double space between the seemingly dichotomous ‘I’, the present state of her mind, and ‘We’, all life, all art, all waifs and strays. Woolf includes herself in this ‘We’ – the present state of Woolf’s mind is social, her consciousness collective – ‘a rambling capricious but somehow unified whole’ in which, I will argue, ‘I’ and ‘We’ sound simultaneously. Continue reading “‘I… I… I…’ Performative Utterance in Between the Acts/ Proposing a Quasi-performative Literary Analysis (A longer piece).”

Reworked/worded memories of Irigaray at the ICA and some initial thoughts on ‘Developing a culture of touch’

In Western tradition we think of touch too often as a grasp. Touch is mediation between yourself and the world, between yourself and others. What this touch can communicate — the importance of touch in returning us to our human potential (in a way of behaviour that allows us to flower) is to prepare the possibility of being in touch —with the respect for the sensitivity of another.

12936589_10209542696832715_7883918909748853658_n.jpgPipilotti Rist, Mercy Garden Retour Skin, Video still, (2014). Continue reading “Reworked/worded memories of Irigaray at the ICA and some initial thoughts on ‘Developing a culture of touch’”

Beauty Myth: The Questioned Pain

In ORLAN’s performance Omniprésence[1] the artist live streamed her seventh surgical procedure in her series ‘Carnal Art’. Forcing her audience to ‘bear witness’[2] to her face being cut, injected and operated upon, ORLAN narrated the performance through speech, facial expression and drawings made in her own blood. As the audience watched ORLAN’s face being carved by scalpels to make room for the silicone implants intended to transform her brow into a mirage of the Mona Lisa’s, they were provided with a direct line of communication to the performance site. ‘Je n’ai pas peur[3]!’ ORLAN assured her audience, yet their uneasiness persisted. ‘It is not me who suffers’ she stated poignantly, firmly, but the questions faxed in from audience members watching the live stream across the globe continued to fixate on ORLAN’s nervous system, despite viewing repeated doses of local anaesthetic being administered. It seems the audience were distressed by the lack of ORLAN’s pain, as if the audience want the procedure to hurt, revealing that if ORLAN felt pain her performance would be less threatening.

ORLAN, ‘Untiled’, Omnipresence-Surgery Series, (1993)

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Sugar< Vital Blood



Francis Picabia, Couverture de Littérature, nouvelle série, n°4, (1er septembre 1922). 

‘To illustrate my opinion, I need only observe that when a woman is admired for her beauty, and suffers herself to be so far intoxicated by the admiration she receives as to neglect to discharge the indispensable duty of mother, she sins against herself by neglecting to cultivate an affection that would equally tend to make her useful and happy. True happiness — I mean all the contentment and virtuous satisfaction that can be snatched in this imperfect state — must arise from well-regulated affections; and an affection includes a duty. Men are not aware of the misery they cause and the vicious weakness they cherish by only inciting women to render themselves pleasing; they do not consider that they thus make natural and artificial clash by sacrificing the comfort and respectability of a woman’s life, to voluptuous notions of beauty, when in Nature they all harmonize…. Continue reading “Sugar< Vital Blood”

Corporate Tears? Thoughts on Crying toward a Psychoanalytic Feminist analysis


Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 18.28.59.pngSusannah Butter’s article ‘Cryproof your face’[1] promises her reader ‘there are ways to wipe away the tracks of your tears’. Written for the ‘Beauty’ section of the paper, the article does not address an explicitly feminist audience, nor does it come close to acknowledging the fiercely gendered nature of its content. Nonetheless,reverberating through Butter’s writing is a troubling undertone of contemporary and conservative feminist rhetoric. In light of Jaqueline Rose’s analysis, such an undertone is symptomatic of a deferral of psychic and emotional experience that is the undoing of feminist progress; through the pursuit to conceal a subjective emotional position, the unnamed subject — woman — assumes it as a brand.

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Dreamers Awake

Surrealism has always drawn me as an inherently feminist movement. The very notion of Surrealism is the attempt, through the practice of art, to create new demands on reality. André Breton’s assertion of the revolutionary aims of Surrealism underlines a radical potential to represent emergent feminist reality. However, the male dominated oeuvre of the surrealists presents a dichotomy, a still-tense feminist paradigm: the female muse vs the realisation of the female creator. Dreamers Awake — the paradox is in the name, but, perhaps, in the case of pioneering female Surrealists, such paradox articulates the very essence of working life and contemporary being.


Kati Horna Via, Leonora Carrington at her easel.

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