sMother psychological-endurance artwork. Gendered assumptions, judgments and advice – whether meant to protect or to control – bind and confine those perceived to be ‘women of child bearing age’, paralysing us with fear and shame. Our identities are subdued and mummified in forced acquiescence by community expectations that preserve absurd gender roles.
At nearly 38yo and after two miscarriages in the previous year, Casey performed sMother, the final in a trilogy of performances exploring the restrictive nature of gendered expectations on those perceived to be ‘women of child-bearing age’.
Casey knitted daily over the course of a week with yarn drawn from their vagina, linking two common vut somewhat conflicting indicators of femininity; the vulva associated with women’s sexuality and reproduction, and knitting associated with elderly asexual women. As Casey knitted, audience members were invited to activate a four channel, 28 track soundscape of advice and commentary regarding ‘women of child-bearing age’, reflecting the judgments of diverse commentators from lounge-room analysts to Donald Trump. By activating the sound montages, the audience was complicit in mirroring and perpetuating the cacophony of gendered judgments that strengthen patriarchal control.
Casey absorbed the relentless barrage while creating a knitted length that grew over the course of days into a rope that bound and distorted their body – travelling from the popular ‘serene pregnant woman’ fable to something more representative of the lived experience of those perceived to be ‘women of child bearing age’, involving discomfort, fear, frustration and claustrophobia. Each stitch may be seen as a mark of acquescence to the absurdity of gender expectations – an acquiescence that at first may comfort and shield, but soon distorts, binds and restricts.
Psychological-endurance performance artwork spanning 6 days
Venice International Performance Art Week
Following from Casting Off My Womb & Programmed to reproduce Casey knitted for 6 days, binding themselves with yarn drawn from their vagina as the audience activated a 28 track, 4 channel soundscape of age & gender related advice produced in collaboration with Manuel Zabel.