Friday, 18 April 2008

Believe it or not

The authorities at Yale might have officially described it as a hoax, but aspiring conceptual provocateuse Aliza Shvarts is apparently standing by her abortion art. She really did inject herself with sperm, she claims, and she really did film herself bleeding all over the bathroom. She adds,

The artwork exists as the verbal narrative you see above, as an installation that will take place in Green Hall, as a time-based performance, as an independent concept, as a myth and as a public discourse.

Which doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the reality of her "creation". Still, Shvartz has certainly mastered the inanities of modern art discourse. Here's an extract from her statement:

It is the intention of this piece to destabilize the locus of that authorial act, and in doing so, reclaim it from the heteronormative structures that seek to naturalize it.

As an intervention into our normative understanding of “the real” and its accompanying politics of convention, this performance piece has numerous conceptual goals. The first is to assert that often, normative understandings of biological function are a mythology imposed on form. It is this mythology that creates the sexist, racist, ableist, nationalist and homophobic perspective, distinguishing what body parts are “meant” to do from their physical capability. The myth that a certain set of functions are “natural” (while all the other potential functions are “unnatural”) undermines that sense of capability, confining lifestyle choices to the bounds of normatively defined narratives.

When considering my own bodily form, I recognize its potential as extending beyond its ability to participate in a normative function. While my organs are capable of engaging with the narrative of reproduction — the time-based linkage of discrete events from conception to birth — the realm of capability extends beyond the bounds of that specific narrative chain. These organs can do other things, can have other purposes, and it is the prerogative of every individual to acknowledge and explore this wide realm of capability.

Aliza may or may not have utilised her vagina in the service of art. But she obviously made considerable use of another orifice for the purposes of communication.


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