To challenge the divide between the lowbrow and high culture is necessary in giving credit to subcultures which ended up being ripped off and emulated by the art world. The danger of an artist is that they get to places and they create critical connections.
Some performances are a protest, are a riot, are love and tribute owed to communities that have nurtured, are challenging the respectability culture of supremacist (cis, white, hetero) ways. We dream up different possibilities and try to re-organize with dignity around pleasure and a sensation of being acutely alive and connected.
-burlesque, cabaret and drag combined with the Bakthinian carnivalesque and ritualized disturbances to the status quo-
Performance which makes the unseen visible, creates `notions of exaggerating, condensing, highlighting, revealing, concealing, of guise and disguise, of social, political and spiritual boundary-crossing, of transgressive behaviour, […] common to all forms of performance. […]Notions of exaggerating, condensing, highlighting, revealing, concealing, of guise and disguise, of social, political and spiritual boundary-crossing, of transgressive behaviour, are common to all forms of performance. [performance] makes death a laughing matter and relieve sorrow; cross-gender performing makes the male female, the female male; the powerless performer becomes an entranced other – powerful, central and dynamic.‘ (Harding, Frances 2002)
▽ Maria Santa (improvisation)▽
Santa Maria ora pro nobis! You who combine the worst and best of women and the most desired and the most loathed in men and transform it into grace by love, stand by us when the days are rough with a firm hand to handle our human pain, yourself hurt in love. You who show our human darkness, and having tripped over the rim of your skirts restore the connection to others around you, Santa Maria ora pro nobis! You who love yourself and loathe yourself, a fetish and an abject, whose soft heart stays soft even as you strike, stand by us, play with us and take care of the hearts we offer to you, spontaneously, aflame. And when the moon is dark and my dark thoughts lurk, stand by me and laugh, laugh, laugh at the human mess we are. And then shed your tears, all the water of your eyes, the ocean hidden within your cranial cavities.
(password ‘maria santa’)
Video by Henrique Antao Ponderosa drag night
Note: All spanking was consensual, all strikes awarded from a place of an open heart and love, with much of respect for other’s integrity and happened on a request of members of the audience/community who volunteered their bottoms willingly, with fun and light-heartedness. (It was not planned as the part of the performance.)
The inspiration beyond my critical cabaret pieces and platforms is bridging the division between the carnal, the bodily, the sexual and intellectual ‘…the shadow of the spirit, that had to be mastered; a subtext always present in the text’s denial of the body . I read classical antiquity as carnivalized antiquity, defining ‘carnivalisation’ as the intrusion of play, humour and folk culture into high discourses such as philosophy. I focus on mimicked speech, rhetoric and the sexual body.’ (Shannon Bell, ‘Tomb of the Sacred Prostitute: Symposion’)