Presentation of Queered: What's to be done with XCentric Art
The Celebration Women's History Month at Northeastern University, March 27, 2012
Being asked to present Queered left me in a kind of conundrum. How do I best represent the group, whose work should I show from the book and do I have the right to act as a kind of spokesperson for the collective?
I decided to do a portion of the presentation as a performance in response to Angela Harutunyan's performative essay Live from Angela: Apart We Are Together, from the Coming to You Not to be With You exhibition of the collective in 2008. I thought this would be a way of not just presenting the book, but responding to a part of the book live and pointing to the continuation of QY projects.
Live from the Flesh is performed through a live video feed, which is projected to the audience while my physical body is performing from a nearby room. I start the performance in near blackness calling out words which hold a negative connotation (in relation to colonialism, notions of progressiveness and loaded dichotomies) mixed with words of multiplicity, ambiguity and queerness. While calling out the words my televisual presence begins to surface as I wipe my flesh. There is a gap between my image and the audio, the latter reaching the audience beforehand.
Performing through a live feed is a way of contextualizing the virtuality of the group as well as responding to Harutunyan’s essay. In Amelia Jones’ essay Cinematic Self-Imaging, Jones uses Merleau Ponty’s theory on subjectivization and embodiment in which Ponty insists that we relate to the world as both embodied subject and embodied object that is both the seer and the seen. Jones argues that the screen can be thought of not as a border separating self from other, but as a place for exchange where self and other realize their reciprocal and simultaneous relationships that are mutating entities. This breaks down the oppositional model of subjectivity between self and other. My presence becomes embodied through the revealing of my face and body within the projection.