Not tonight darling, I'm washing my hair
Not tonight..., was first performed at 'home', London, February 2001 [hereafter 1]. A re-worked version for The Performing House of Smallbone, London/ Kent, July 2007, curated by Sigrid Wilkinson [hereafter 2] is on the DVD documentation. Version 1 was made for a house that is also a performance venue and was made as a one-to-one performance/ 5 minutes each. Version 2 was performed for a bathroom company’s event for their clientele at two of their showrooms. This was a durational piece of 3 hours (DVD 7 minute extract). I decided to re-make this work, apart from continuing my ongoing concern with intimate exchanges with audiences, for the following reasons. I wanted to continue to explore hair and milk as a sexualised combination (bodily fluids implied), alongside the Judaic notion of a single hair being drawn from milk as comparable to dying, and thereby conflating cultural and gendered readings. The milk bath has resonances of notions of femininity. In 1 I was naked beneath the milk and never revealed my body. Whilst tantalising I wanted to further show hyper-femininity and so adopted the red dress/eyelashes for version 2. In version 1 the text dominated to the detriment of the visuality. Silence and the duration of 2 enabled the extraction of individual hairs to perform the obsessive, and the showing of the making of the art-work over time. Audiences were both attracted and horrified; looking despite their repulsion. Julia Kristeva’s idea of the abject is applicable here. The spectacle of beauty is at the core of the disruption of identity in my practice. A great opportunity was presented to me by being invited to be in a bath in a non-performance art audience context for version 2. Therefore the responses were challenging and fruitful. One viewer compared the piece to Cocteau.
Research Group : Drama Research Group
- School of Arts