[-empyre-] Response to Stacia and 'feminine' identity

Hi Stacia et al
Thanks for looping Jill and me back into the discussion. Sorry you've been left carrying the torch but within the month I figured there'd be lots of ebbs and flows.

I have to say "feminine" identity was the part of the topic I felt and probably do still feel least affinity with. So the short answer is no, I don't think of my work as feminine in any way. Feminine, the word, to me screams of essentialism. In order not to have this knee-jerk reaction, I think I'd have to find other words or ideas to substitute in order to respond at all. Ummm - what about gender construction? or gender signifiers? Maybe another way to approach it is to work out from the specific to the general. Again, because it's the easiest for an online discussion group to have access to, I'll use the current project as the example. Because I am in fact a female, using the model of a female literary character (Scheherazade) as a meta-narrative reference point, there hasn't been any reason to either highlight or downplay my gender. Admittedly, I do restrict viewer access to most of my body and face but that's not so much about gender as installing a de-personalising device. The major gender signifier is my voice which is naturally quite light (I wish it weren't but it is). But what comes out of my mouth is not my story, it's other people's stories, and not necessarily in the biographical sense. Sometimes these are written in the first person and from the perspective of a man and so I am a man at such moments. But no, this is too simplistic, audiences are sophisticated enough to discern simultaneous multiple identities at work: there is me, the illusive Barbara Campbell, there is me the story teller, there is me evoking Scherazade, there is the character/s of the story, there is the voice of the writer, there are the voices of the characters and writers who have come before and after that particular night like ghosts and harbingers.

(And now I am really really sorry but I'm going to have to press the pause button as tonight's performance is drawing closer and then I have to take the project to Paris tomorrow. So, I'll get back to this in a couple of days. Perhaps, so as not to leave you dangling completely, I could direct you to an early story that for me was one of the hardest to perform from a gender perspective? Here's the link to the text. Remember, the performances themselves cannot be downloaded after the fact. http://1001.net.au/cgi-bin/isengine?o=1001&action=display&id=272)

On 10/06/2007, at 4:00 AM, empyre-request@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au wrote:

With all this said, I don't set out to construct or
perform a "feminine" identity. These are natural
outshoots of who I am. I just wanted to bring this up
for discussion and ask Jill and Barbara to talk about
how they respond to that part of this month's topic.
Do y'all think of your performance work as "feminine"
in any way? How do notions of the "feminine" drive
your work or bring it to a screeching halt?
Skype contact: bcperformance

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