LIVE ART & THE CYBORG BODY
@ Goldsmiths University, London
Thursday 20 October 2016
‘The boundaries between the categories of the natural and the cultural have been displaced and to a large extent blurred by the effects of scientific and technological advances.’ – Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman, 2013
The conference Live Art and the Cyborg Body pulls together an international and multidisciplinary group of artists and academics who explore the idea of the cyborg in its most expanded forms within their practice or research. Working between the boundaries of the natural and the artificial, the social and the virtual, the private and the public, the speakers discuss how these polarized sites have been used as a tool to rigorously and creatively engage with self-representation, by re-imagining and destabilising gender norms, sexual politics, racial paradigms, physical (dis)abilities, health, our relationship to death and the occult.
Presentations by BayB Jane, FoxGlove & Pure Venom, Lizzie Masterton, Oreet Ashery, Quimera Rosa, Victoria Sin and Head of Department and Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies at Roehampton University Dr. Jennifer Parker-Starbuck.
Colorful, outrageous, androgynous, humorous and ‘completely different’ are just a few fitting adjectives for BayBJane’s image and work. ‘The smallest drag queen in the world’ was created in collaboration with Dutch artist and drag performer Cybersissy who has for a longtime been her partner in crime. BayBJane started taking her first steps at the legendary Funky Chicken Club in Cologne and at Cafe de Paris, London. She quickly became one of most popular national and international performance artists in the club scene, most notably since 2008, when she spent her first season in Ibiza and started to perform regularly at Cocoon, Matinee, La Troya and Space club, soon also becoming Pacha`s first official mascot.
BayBJane’s ‘Bionic Drag’ performances expose questions at the intersections of sexuality and disability while dazzling audiences with their use of prosthetics, technology and haute couture. BayBJane’s courageous life and work has recently been the subject of the documentary One Zero One: The Story of Cybersissy & BayBjane directed by Tim Lienhard (2013) and screened at international film festivals.
FoxGlove and Pure Venom
FoxGlove and Pure Venom create unconventional sacred spaces, enacting the primal, the ritual, and the ceremonial. For a long time, their lives ran parallel to each other, their backgrounds uncannily similar, their passions as obscure and frightening as the shadows which seemed to follow them. When the universe deemed it time for them to finally meet, they became friends, then lovers, then life partners. Having already turned to their own individual abyss, they realised with surprise that their truths shared the same dark ancestor and from there on, they were inspired to be transgressive and experimental investigators together.
They run the occult-themed club night C O V E N: https://www.facebook.com/COVENeventsLDN
Lizzie Masterton is an artist and writer based in London, whose work encompasses performance, video, sound and text. Her practice is concerned with exploring various permutations of embodiment: from live bodily presence, to intimate screen-based work. Recently she has developed a series of multimedia performances based around the concept of osmosis, utilising water and voice to explore how experiential knowledge can be stored in the body and resurface through somatization.
A large part of her current research lies within the online world of YouTube ASMR videos. As both a member of the ASMR community and a critical outsider, she is seeking to understand how different iterations of subjecthood are formed within ASMR, and how gender, sexuality and power structures can influence our experience of tingles. For the conference she will install her new work ASMR Femme Alien Fixes You, 2016 (24:36 mins) outside the lecture hall.
Recent works include: It is a potent kind of looking (live performance, sound) at The Marathon group exhibition, Point Centre for Contemporary Art (Nicosia, 2016); Osmosis II (Mutation) performed at NORTH, NORTH-EAST, SOUTH, SOUTH-WEST AND 360° Festival of Performance Art, Cell 63 Gallery (Berlin, 2016); ASMR An Elegy to the Mango (sound) released on The Listening Booth (online, 2016); and Pooling (performance, sound, text) at Mintier exhibition at blip blip blip, East Street Arts (Leeds, 2016). Publications/Talks include: Confusing the Subject: Intimacy and ASMR presented at UAL Undergraduate Research Forum (2016); and Shells, published in Glitterwolf LGBT Journal (2015).
Quimera Rosa [Pink Chimera] is a lab that researches and experiments with the body, technology and identities. Their aim is to develop practices that are able to produce non-natural cyborg identities from a transdisciplinary perspective.
“We assume Donna Haraway’s notion of cyborg, that defines it as: ‘chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism’. Our work is based on the deconstruction of sex and gender identities as well as in the interaction body/machine/environment. Our performances present hybrid beings, chimeras, where the production of subjectivity is the result of a prosthetic incorporation. Aware of transfeminist and postidentitarian discourses, we make bodies a platform for public intervention, breaking up limits between public and private. We understand sexuality as a technological and artistic creation and seek to experiment with hybrid, flexible and changing identities able to blur frontiers between the natural/artificial, normal/abnormal, man/woman, hetero/homo, human/machine, human/ animal, politics/art, science/art, reality/fiction… We are specifically interested in the articulations between art, science and technology, and their function in the production of subjectivities. Most of our work has been developed in a collaborative way, and always under DIY/DIT technologies and open source paradigms.”
Quimera Rosa was initiated in Barcelona in 2008, and for the last two years has functioned nomadically. Their work has been presented in streets, art centres, universities, museums, squats and festivals such as: Reina Sofía Museum, MACBA, MUSAC, Palau de la Virreina and LABORAL in Spain, Sight & Sound Festival in Montreal (CA), LUFF festival in Lausanne (CH), National Theatre of Montpelier (FR), Gender Trouble Festival in Lisbon (PT), Piksel Festival, Bergen (NO), Porn Film Festival, Berlin (GE), Alpha Nova Gallery in Berlin (GE), LPM in Rome (IT), Sonic Protest Festival (FR), Sign6 in Brussels (BE), Nada Festival, Cochabamba (BO), Panorama Festival in Rio (BR), Queer Eyes Festival in Prague (CH), Queer Week in Paris 8 (FR), Refrag Glitch Festival, Parsons School, Paris (FR), AMOQA, Queer Museum, Athens (GR), University of Fine Arts in Valencia (ES) and Buenos Aires (AR).
Oreet Ashery is a visual artist and an educator working with political-fiction, gender materiality, biotechnology and potential communities, in local and internationals contexts. Ashery’s practice spans live situations and performances, moving image, photography, workshops, writing and assemblages and turns to areas such as music, costume, publishing and activism.
Ashery’s current work is an artist web-series titled Revisiting Genesis on digital death, memory as identity and feminist art reincarnations. Recent works have included The World is Flooding, A Tate Modern Turbine Hall performance project 2014, and Party for Freedom, an Artangel commission 2013. Ashery is a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art Painting Department (2013-15), a Fine Art Fellow at the Stanley Picker Gallery and a Practitioner in Residence at Chelsea College of Art, Fine Art. Ashery’s work has been published in many languages in art, cultural and academic publications and her work is in public and private collections.
Dr. Jennifer Parker-Starbuck
Dr. Jennifer Parker-Starbuck is the Head of Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance, and Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Roehampton, London.
She is the author of Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/Technological Intersections in Multimedia Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (co-authored with S. Bay-Cheng and D. Saltz, University of Michigan Press, 2015), and co-editor of Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practices (Palgrave, 2015). Her essay “Animal Ontologies and Media Representations: Robotics, Puppets, and the Real of War Horse” (Theatre Journal, Vol. 65, Number 3, October 2013) received the ATHE 2014 Outstanding Article award. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Theatre Journal, PAJ, Women and Performance, Theatre Topics, International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Western European Stages, and others. She is a contributing editor for PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, and an Advisory Board member of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. Parker-Starbuck currently serves as the co-Editor of Theatre Journal.
Victoria Sin is a UK based artist whose work is concerned with the experience of the physical body within the social body, and productive strategies of queer resistance. She works across drag, performance, installation, and print, and is currently leading a long-term project called Dream Babes with Auto Italia South East looking at speculative and science fiction as representational strategies for intersectional queer experience. The project’s iterations include a regular QTIPOC focused sci-fi reading group; Speculative Sex: an event featuring the work of Shu Lea Cheang and Eric Pussyboy investigating the potential for science fiction narratives to disrupt scientific narratives naturalizing normative states of sex and gender; and a three-day programme of events bringing together eleven artists working across varied mediums to enact queer collectivity and to create space to image queer futurity.
Victoria is also a female drag queen and a leading voice in London’s drag scene, using drag as a tool to parody images and iconography of western femininity and to question how femininity is inscribed and performed. She performs regularly in venues across London as well as around the UK and Europe and her work has been featured on Broadly TV, Polyester Zine, Timeout Magazine, Wonderland, Vice, The Creator’s Project, Dazed and Confused, and I-D magazine.
Giulia Casalini is an independent curator based in London. She is the co-director of the queer-feminist arts organization CUNTemporary, as well as the founder of Archivio Queer Italia, the first platform for queer arts, theory and activism in Italy. In 2014 she initiated “Teoremi”, an itinerant performance festival in Italy. She has been nominated Live Art Associate UK for her on-going commitment to showcasing performance art.
Diana Georgiou is the co-director of CUNTemporary, organizing events, screenings and exhibitions at the intersections of feminism and queer both in London and abroad. Her doctoral research in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths University of London focuses on the relationship between auto/biographical art-writing and feminist discourses on subjectivity.
Photos by Loredana Denicola.