ōtautahi tiny performance festival artist journal – marika pratley

ōtautahi tiny performance festival 

 christchurch centre of contemporary art

 november 30th, 2019 

 10am - midnight 

MAP partners with CoCA for one day-and-night of performance by some of Christchurch's most exciting new wave artists.

Tiny Festival draws together a new generation of physical performance makers from Ōtautahi, Aotearoa, and beyond, that embrace taking risks, pushing boundaries, and breaking new ground. Inspired by artists who spark dialogue and ask questions rather than provide answers, the programme features a range of performance disciplines from Performance Art to Theatre, Dance to Poetry, Music to Installation. 

MAP has curated a programme of work that transcends our understanding of ourselves and our world and has the courage to speak to the challenges of our times.

We invited the festival artists to talk about their practice and reflect on the work they will be presenting at the festival. 

My sexuality is a clusterfuck.

Breaking binaries. Mashing them up. Mass consumption (some might call this promiscuity). Falling in love. With multiple people of multiple genders at the same time - but usually only fucking one at a time (but at the same time). Always negotiating. With myself, my pussy, my brain, and my lovers. What I keep private. What goes out in public. Sometimes when I have sex it's so boring or terrible I wish I was at home eating plain cold pasta. Making some art, reading philosophy, or wonder why I didn't barter something out of it to make it worth my time. My sexuality brings me joy, wonder, confusion, connectedness, boredom, excitement, loneliness and Nirvana. 

I am a cis-woman. But I prefer to go by Alpha Femme. Boss Bitch. Matriarch. Human Being. I simulate and stimulate The Whore and The Madonna - a multidimensional subject, rather than a multifaceted object. I mean what is the phenomenology of femininity anyway? Or the phenomenology of hotness? My milkshakes bring all the sexy humans to the yard. Before those delicious beverages are upcycled as fascist repellent. To make a sustainable future. And to destroy Team TERF SWERF (they think they are feminists, but their actions tell me they behave as confused agents of the patriarchy). For Queer Liberation ??? ?? 

My sexuality is up for debate. We didn't decide this, it just has always been like that. The contenders between our own internal monologue and external relationships, navigating the myriads of ideologies and power dynamics expressed in our society, and weighing them in against our authentic selves (whatever that means). Gender. Sexuality. The two go hand-in-hand as a debate between the public sphere and the private sphere. But who is really in control of their identity? Or the terms of this process? How and when do I know if I am my authentic self or compromising and compartmentalizing to appease others? How do I know myself? Why can't it be an open discussion rather than a debate? 

Relationships. Sex is all about them. How I relate to myself, or to you. Or you to me. Are we friends? Platonic? Sexy? Romantic? Emotionally invested? Detracted? Is it mutual? I mean why is love and lust a binary anyway? How temporal is this? How do we navigate consent? Not just physical sexual intimacy, but how do we come to agree on a definition for whatever it is that's happening between us? How long will this go on for? Am I signing a mortgage now that we made out? Am I empowered or exploited by this agreement? How do I know the difference between negotiating a compromise and dissolving myself into what somebody else wants - sacrificing my own authenticity or sense of self in the process? What are my boundaries? 

One of my former lovers called me his "Sex Therapist". Some would say this was an example of "emotional labour". He noticed I was reading the Ethical Slut and would ask me advice about other people he was falling in love with and sleeping with. Then it turns out they didn't know he was sleeping with me, which made me angry at him for lying. I am a slut, but I respect my metamours and I didn't agree to being a homewrecker. I have boundaries and agency. I expect transparency and want to know what I'm signing up for. Collective power with everyone on the same page, not one of those individual agreements at the expense of everyone else. Keep your neoliberalism out of my vagina. 

The infamous Bruce La Bruce film The Raspberry Reich, instructs us to "make revolutionary love" instead of imperialistic capitalistic warfare. But what does it really mean to Fuck for the Revolution? What revolution is this? What does that mean when we flip the power dynamics? How do we know if we are being empowered or exploited by the power infrastructures which dictate what makes us Hot, Sexy and Feminine? Or even a woman? Why do hegemonic identities get weaponized toward ourselves and each other? 

My ancestors worshipped a giant Vulva stone statue, the first representation of Aphrodite, at her first ever temple in Cyprus. I have a complex history with my vagina, but since I started talking to her things have improved immensely. Sometimes I say prayers to Aphrodite for my vulva if she's scared or vulnerable, just to send positive affirmations. My vulva has worked hard on self-love and acceptance, to actively flourish as a sex-positive self-pleasuring being, in spite of the patriarchy and sexual abuse. It's my body I am the boss of it (including my cunt). And with that comes respecting other people being bosses of their bodies and the abolishment of pseudo-scientific biological essentialism. Maybe this is the revolution I am/we are fucking for? 

Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival
Centre of Contemporary Art 30th November, 2019
Words by Marika Pratley

Feminine Hygiene w. Virginia Kennard