Much of the work presented looks at the manipulation of space and the movement of those within it. The Start Project concentrated on the traditional architecture of Yemen, a country that many fled from with their lives. The Forgotten War video highlights the elements of movement, while crushing and destroying the space. Following on from this, I studied my own life, focusing on the manipulation of space and movement. Pole Fitness allowed this manipulation, whilst bringing forth the idea of reactions and sensations for the viewer. The use of multiple screen while displaying Pole GoPro Experiments was inspired by John Akomfrah’s, The Unfinished Conversation (Akomfrah, 2012).
A larger manipulation of space led me to the work of Matthew Barney (Barney, 1992), who performs by mark-making an entire room, and the making of my own pole in the studio, along with Untitled Collection. Untitled Collection showcased the manipulation of space better within a small room, with three separate cameras capturing my body throughout the space.
Feminism and returning the male gaze, raised by Laura Mulvey (Mulvey, 1999) and Jacques Lacan (Lacan and Sheridan, 1977), were a heavy influence from here, as pole is associated with eroticism, strippers and impurity. Valie Export (Export, 1968) and her somewhat crude displays of returning the gaze inspired me to become more daring with my own body, movement and space to communicate ideas more clearly. Performances were produced with accompanying projections and audio. Immersing yourself into the environment of Pole Performance allowed the artwork to say something beyond the walls and created an overpowering space, much like No Crying in the Barbershop, by Pepón Osorio (Osorio, 1994).
Sound and voice were key aspects of Pole Performance; however, it was drowned out by other elements. By stripping the work down to audio, something more personal and powerful was created. Invisible sculptures were created when using two, three and four different speakers in both Feminist Poems and This Is What We Did Exhibition. The manipulation of space, and the movement of sound was inspired by Paul Purgas (Purgas, 2017) and Evan Ifekoya (Ifekoya, 2015). The theme of feminism was further highlighted when displaying with other feminist and identity-themed artworks in the exhibition.
During the progression of Feminist Poems, there was a need for further manipulation of the physical space using light and the pole. Heather Cassils in Becoming an Image, (Cassils, 2012) uses the camera flash to create an intense environment. Using strobe and UV lights on the pole, the audience are only able to gain small pieces of information, recreating intimacy and a physically overpowering space.
A glimpse of the performance creates moments of statuesque provocation, while also highlighting equality and allowing the return of the male gaze.
Akomfrah, J. (2012). The Unfinished Conversation. [Video] London: Tate Modern.
Barney, M. (1992). drawing restraint. [Performance and Video].
Cassils, H. (2012). Becoming an Image. [Performance].
Export, V. (1968). TAP and TOUCH Cinema. [Video (black and white, sound)] New York: Museum of Modern Art.
Ifekoya, E. (2015). Ebi Flo. [Video].
Lacan, J. and Sheridan, A. (1977). Écrits. 1st ed. London: Tavistock Publications Limited.
Mulvey, L. (1999). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In: L. Braudy and M. Cohen, ed., Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. [online] New York: Oxford UP, pp.833-844. Available at: http://www.composingdigitalmedia.org/f15_mca/mca_reads/mulvey.pdf [Accessed 17 Apr. 2018].
Osorio, P. (1994). No Crying in the Barbershop. [Mixed media installation with barber’s chair, photographs, objects, and videos] Puerto Rico: Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico Collection.
Purgas, P. (2017). Boiler Room. [Sound] London: Art Night.