Hey Everyone – Justine here! I’m the current Artist in Residence at Draíocht and I’m taking over the Instagram account to chat a little about my practice and research.
I have a multidisciplinary practice that coalesces the voice, text, installation, photography and performance. Performing using my own voice, at times manipulated, my practice investigates the way in which the female voice is represented and treated as an archive. Through the interweaving of autobiographical, fictional and historical accounts, I address female histories from a feminist perspective that manifest through voices and multi-layered works. I directly engage with representations and subjectification of the female voice through vocal and textual compositions. I am interested in how the female voice within performance practice can challenge historical contexts and carry the potential to re-claim a space for silenced voices as a form of resistance and remembrance. In doing so, I aim to create spaces to expose and elude systems of representation and power.
As I have been developing a new multi-channel sound work and live performance here at Draíocht - Tomorrow I will bring you into my studio to discuss some of the research that underpins my practice and how this feeds into the making of my work. In particular, through the lens of performance, photography and surrealism – which explored the self, history and fragmented representations that rendered the female voice ‘other’.
Ongoing photographic series “Behind the Frame”.
The theorist Peggy Phelan states that “the conscious refusal to uncover that which was declared invisible can often distort representations of the self”.
Looking at historical acts of disappearance and invisibility - underpinning my practice is an engagement with an ongoing dialogue of multiplicity and identity. Within my live performance works I move through a series of choreographed positions including ‘the self’, the ‘inner’ and the ‘other’. I use my polaroid camera as an existential recording device in my studio to explore the concept of the ‘mirror self’ and use techniques such as double exposure to mirror silence, movement and switching of positions that take place in my live performance works.
‘It’s galling to be able to give only what you have, only what you are. But…even if you cover and re-cover yourself with masks, even if you paint and re-paint them, it may be that you simply increase the resemblance, and accentuate the imperfections of the hidden face…”
- Claude Cahun
Simone De Beauvoir, feminist philosopher and the author of the Second Sex (1949), described the phenomenon of men constructing the concept of women, stating that women were framed as the ‘Other’ while men are the self and subject. In the French surrealist movement, women were conceived as a series of unreal stereotypes: as femme fatale, as ideal.
As Claude Cahuns practice is anchored in resistance of ‘ideal’, I am interested in gathering research through a feminist theoretical framework on how the female body can challenge the politics of becoming a silenced ‘Other’ through the lens of photography and performance practice.
Ongoing photographic series “SHE”
“The female voice has been culturally, politically and historically determined” (Groom Amelia, 2019). “As the law of the gaze prohibits self-seeing” (Barthes, Roland, 1998), the female voice provides a crucial counter history, where we find coercion towards invisibility and ‘Other’.
Influenced by William Burroughs cut-up techniques I interweave fragments of poetry, musical lyrics and autobiographical narratives, building a collage to create a new text works. Staging a dialogue between the self and the other ‘SHE’ is an ongoing photographic series exploring identity and the hidden ‘self’ using a polaroid camera, yellow and black film and a textual component.
“I’m really just using the mirror to summon something I don’t even know until I see it.”
- Cindy Sherman
Disappearing into the construction of a framed space, Sherman’s self-image is much harder to find. Sherman’s performance work suggests that female subjectivity resides in disguise and displacement, using self-portrait to investigate the foundational otherness of women within contemporary representation. Interested in visibility politics and drawing on ‘The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (Theories of Representation and Difference), Silverman Kaia, (1988) - this area of research examines the work of Claude Cahun and Cindy Sherman through the lens of performance to establish a relationship on how the ruptured representation of the ‘self’, extracted and formalised the female voice as ‘Other’ throughout historical and contemporary representation.