The idea behind this performance was to make a digital monument to Woman-As-Spectacle. This idea was inspired by Marina Warner's book, 'Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form' (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000), where she wrote, "At the heart of this web of symbols, where woman as fons et origo and woman as a manufactured maiden are assimilated, where woman as original matter and woman as artefact become interchangeable terms in the discussion of the creative act in life and art, we can find the source of the tradition of ascribing meaning more readily to the female form than the male."

But what happens when it is a female artist who manipulates her own form as allegory? Does she rescue it from alienation, if she is the one who actively controls the extent to which she is objectified? It was these questions that interested me when I devised a performance for 'Monument'.

The performance requires two spaces: one space is closed off to the viewer and this is the space in which I perform a pole-dance. The viewer is in the second space, in which there is a digital projection. In the first space where I am performing, there is a computer which sends a live capture feed to the projector in the adjacent room. A program on the computer manipulates the footage so that it eventually reaches a point of total abstraction. The sequence below documents this process, please note that this sequence is silent:

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The sequence below shows a larger version of the black and white digital projection in the room adjacent to the performance space, please note that this sequence is silent:

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The reason I chose to pole-dance (as opposed to any other form of dancing) is because this type of dancing is normally watched, and it is important to me that the viewer understands that I am controlling the way that I'm being seen (or not seen) and thereby sublimating the objectifying gaze of the voyeuristic drive.

I have previously shown the black and white digital sequence on a television monitor, but only within the context of documentation. My next plan is to experiment with a live capture feed from a curtained-off performance space to a life-size LED screen in the adjacent space.

woburn2009