[-empyre-] Response to Barbara and 'feminine' identity [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Hi Barbara et al,

<quote>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? <unquote>

I agree with your comment about 'feminine' and essentialism. I think what I wanted to throw it in to complicate some aspects of the topic and hopefully get a reaction :-) 

Gender construction and gender signifiers are more positive terms to look at how gender is socially constructed and whilst not really a central issue in any of the guests work, I thought it could be a way to analyse aspects of each of the artists work. Here is link that might be relevant http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Essentialism.html

The notion of the 'feminine' is bound by many social expectations about behaviour, personality and appearance - a different kettle of fish to the biological aspects of being female. I think Stacia's reference to her avatar having an idealised female form is very relevant here. I guess in terms of gaming, I am interested to find out if  women players enjoy projecting these idealised forms - as I don't see many morbidly obese avatars in SL for example...

<quote>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.<unquote>

The aspect of multiple identities in your work is further complicated by your presence as a 'channel' or 'medium' for these other voices. I find that this aspect of the project does have implications when considered within an historical frame of reference, especially in context with the use of technology. Some years ago, I was looking at early technology, theosophy, spiritualism and abstraction in art and found some interesting linkages. Channels and mediums were usually women and experiments with lights and electricity would accompany the séance to make it appear more authentic...apologies for going off on a tangent... 

Also - thank you for the link your story - it is an excellent example of how the feminine is not just ascribed to the female gender.


Do other -empyreans- working in performance want to comment??


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