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The body is often used as a political device which immediately draws attention to gender politics even if this

relation is not the performer’s intention. Female performance artists, such as Carolee Schneeman, draw

attention to the female structure and often bring feminist objectification into debate. Franclibine argues

‘what most women expose in the field of art...is just the opposite of a
denial of woman as object in as much as the object of desire is precisely
the woman’s own body’ (Franclibine: quoted in Warr & Jones:2000:253)

Therefore female artists are attempting to subvert there objectified status using the main attraction of the

male gaze, the female body. Body artists such as Schneeman use the explicit body within performance as a

way of destabilizing phallogocentric society, which is more dominant within westernized culture.

Phallogocentric, a term coined by Helene Cixous to describe society’s dominant language as central to the

phallus. Body artist Schneeman uses grotesque imagery to claim her own body and highlight the

misrepresentation of the female body. Her exterior body is an attempt to form a female language which is not

centered on stereotypical representations forced by patriarchy, she is ‘writing the body’ (Cixous: 1977),

asserting her femininity through display of her explicit body. Schneeman’s performances were often labelled

“self indulgent, exhibitionism, intended only to stimulate men” (Schneeman 1990:25: quoted in Schneider:

1997: 34). I aim to interrogate this by analysing cutting practise, in performance, as an “unnatural” form

which attempts to challenge society’s classification system. When the skin boundary is broken the female

body is fully viewable, interior and exterior. This essay draws particular focus on the skin as a material of

female performance, proposing cutting practice as a performance form which literally interprets Helene

Cixous’ notions on ’writing the body’. Females further enhance their rejection of phallus centric language

and objectification by using scarification to contribute towards performance. Additionally drawing on notions

of ’Queer Theory’ and considering the act of scarification as a performative action, which projects gender

onto the exterior therefore challenging hetero-normativity. Proposing association to the seeping wounds and

the female menstrual cycle which is analyzed through performances by Kiera O’Reilly in particular ‘Untitled

Action for Bombshelter’ (2003) and ‘My Mother’ (2003). Contributing analysis of male performances of a
similar nature, such as Ron Athey’s ‘Excerpts From Four Scenes in a Harsh Life’ (1994) because they have

similar connotations, in regards to expressing the ’other’ and ’queering’ their space. Furthermore, throughout

the essay, highlighting the skins materiality as a document, palimpsest, container, canvas and language and

how this contributes the reading of performance.

Bodies are inscribed with societies laws, these reflect culture, the expected behavior, dress codes but more

importantly, for the purpose of this essay gender.

’There is no law that is not inscribed on bodies…it engraves itself on


parchment made from the skin of its subjects.’ (Certeau: quoted in
Ireland:1998)

Within these laws, which have been developed within a patriarchal culture, females are represented in

coherence with how society expects them to be. Michael de Certeau (1984) links bodily inscription to body

politics, he places particular emphasis on discourse and draws parallels between the ‘skin and parchment’.

This suggests the scars act as a literal documentation reflecting certain laws in regards to expectations in

society. This is a form of documentation which can never exactly be re-represented. I aim to consider a post-

structuralist line of enquiry in order to analyse scarification acts concerned with the body. Post-structuralist

thought aims to destabilise binary opposites such as male and female as does Foucault’s notion of ‘Queer

Theory’. The destabilising of binary opposites forms a ‘Binary Terrorism’ (Patraka:1992 Quoted in

Schneider:1997:13), challenging the patriarchal classification system in which males occupy the dominant

position. This position is highlighted by Descartes (1637) who considered the male as the mind and the

female as the body. The male gaze highlights male’s power, as the mind, to objectify and look upon the

female body. Therefore the body is a suitable form of expression, in order to challenge Descartes views as it

is considered alongside the female form. However because it is the object of the male gaze, artists have

adopted other notions, which can portray a range of sexual orientations. The term ‘queer’ demonstrates a

range of sexual orientations such as hermaphrodites, lesbians, gay’s and drag artists as well as people
involved in sub-cultural practices such as S/M. Foucault, in defining ‘queer theory’, attempts to find a body

prior to social inscription, highlighting the affect societies laws have on the exterior. Gender indifference

therefore is only defined by society’s construction of it, which affords only room for male and female

distinctions. Foucault began challenging gender and sexual indifference, considering ‘others’ such as

Hermaphrodites, transsexual post-op, transsexual pre-op, homosexuals and drag. Developing Foucault’s

notions, Butler (1990) argues that the body is without gender, and it is the performative acts repeated on a

daily basis which signify a gender to its audience. ‘the skin, is systemically signified by taboo’s and

anticipated transgressions’ (Douglas: Quoted in Butler: 1990: 179)

The performative act of scarification therefore represents a sex which is outside hetero-normality. The

wounds propose association to the vagina, as another orifice is created. Like a vagina, the wound provides

abjection, a binary terrorism in terms of the interior and exterior. The blood seeping from the wound has

similar connotations to the menstrual cycle which provides a similar image. Females can use this in

performance to highlight there indifference and contest the social taboos regarding the female sex within

society. However my research has been problematised by male performance artists who also use cutting

practice as an integral part of their performance. The permeability of the skin suggests the breaking of

boundaries which can also be referred to homosexuality. Homosexual practices open up new surfaces and

challenge binaries in regards to sexual acts which are considered out of the hetero-normative; as does the act

of scarification. The creation of a new orifice opens up possibilities to ‘other’ sexual orientations considered

outside the realms of what is expected in order to conform to the patriarchal norm, opposing the hetero-

normality which stresses male/ female relations. Furthermore Butler argues that homosexuals are considered

by homophobic societies as ‘uncivilized and unnatural’. This phrasing reflects the act of scarification which

is also considered an unnatural practice, as it is threatening the natural structure. Interestingly my research

has discovered male performance artists who wound, in performance, are mainly homosexual (Gunter Brus,
Franko B, Ron Athey, Keira O‘Reilly, Mary Coble). This discovery suggests the use of cut practice as a

projection of ‘otherness’. The characteristics of male patriarchy which consider unity, linearity and closure

are challenged when the skin is marked. Thus when the skin is marked the ’other’, be it anyone who is not a

westernized, white, heterosexual male comes into focus. However my argument is further problematised by

the healing process. The incision will eventually heal over therefore erasing this performative ‘queer’ action

suggesting that the wound too eventually conforms to the patriarchal society. The scar is left as a mnemonic

reminder but the opening ceases to exist after a particular amount of time.

I would also like to consider cutting practice within performance in coherence with Helene Cixous notions on

‘Writing the body’. The incision marks a rejection of phallogocentric language and representation

deconstructing the body marked by patriarchy and projecting personalized performative gender. Cixous

encourages feminist expression through exploration of the body. Female performance artists are encouraged

to “reclaim[s] the female body from its patriarchal textualization through ‘writing the body’” (Forte: 1988:

225). Therefore females are claiming there body from the patriarchal discourse it is represented through.

Cixous notions can also be projected onto ’queer’ artists who are also highlighting their sexual and gender

indifferences. Female and ’queer’ artists are reclaiming their bodies from social inscription through

scarification to reject the patriarchal language which is forced upon their exterior by a patriarchal society.

This is a true expression which can not be re-represented in a true phenomenological sense. Females are

deemed as ‘other’ within westernized society as the white male dominates ‘women are not permitted or even

conceived of as having or owning their own desire” (Forte:1988:225). Therefore the act of scarification

represents female desire as an attempt to erase patriarchal representation.

Female desire is often considered within body art practices. Rising in the 1970’s, body art provided

performers with a platform upon which they could portray themselves autobiographically, often displaying
large amounts of flesh in the process. This therefore challenged patriarchy as it places women in a speaking

position in which she could highlight her own oppression.

“Performance is about the “real-life” presence of the artist. She takes on no roles but her own.
She is author, subject, activator, director, and designer. When a woman speaks within the
performance tradition, she is understood to be conveying her own perceptions, her own
fantasies, and her own analyses” (Elwes: 1985 Quoted in Forte: 1988: 224)

Performance became a suitable form of female expression at a time when feminist theory was rife; it was

believed that the female body had to be seen as naked in order for it to be considered within the realms of

artistic practice. As performance art developed performers began experimenting with the boundaries of the

skin. The skin is a material of the body, which when cut in performance constitutes an extra depth to the

performer. The wound allows further insight concerning the interior identity of the artist, delving into the

layered structure to reveal privacy and eroticism not evident on the exterior. Performances of a similar nature

can be traced back to the 16th century in which ‘anatomy lessons’ were performed in a round with music.

These acts were essentially performed by males at a time when there was little feminist expression.

Spectators could pay to watch these medicinal practices which involved the opening up of skin. The skin acts

as a boundary which once broken provides a doorway. In relation to the ’queering’ of the space

‘The rites of passage that govern various bodily orifices


presuppose a heterosexual construction of gendered exchange,
positions and erotic possibilities.’ (Butler: 1990: 181)

This breaking of boundaries destabilizes the norm (male/female sexual relations) bringing into focus other

gender exchanges (male/male, female/female). Wounds provide abjection of the body, where the interior also

becomes the exterior. Hal Foster (1996) refers to the abject body as ‘crucial as it is to the construction of

subjectivity, racist, homophobic and otherwise.’ (pp 153) Therefore the incision in the skin marks a new

bodily orifice, which considers cultures outside hetero-normality. The exterior body is not empirical but is

symbolic therefore is suitable for shaping social imagery. Michael Leiris, a surrealist painter, depicted
wounds within his works as he believed ’one could access a blind-spot like a portal to the real’ (Quoted in

Schneider: 2007: 46) A doorway or portal suggests a crossing of a threshold entering into a liminal phase

(Turner: 1974). The liminal phase is entered once the incision is made; this then continues to follow a healing

process. The liminal state is exited when the wound is healed and the scar remains as a mnemonic reminder.

Liminality has strong resonance within ‘Queer Theory’ and the performativity of gender. Liminality suggests

a becoming from one state to another similarly ‘Queer Theory’ considers the becoming of gender through

repetitive performative acts. Furthermore wounding the skin is said to stand for a variety of people who do

not conform to the patriarchal norm. The key classification system within this norm is the sex (vagina/ penis).

The sex is considered the signifier of gender within patriarchal society. The pairing of male and female is

considered the norm in order to achieve society’s expectations of reproduction. By metaphorically instating

connotations to the vagina through the act of wounding, artists are further challenging the patriarchal

inscription of the body, by projecting opposing views onto something that was initially marked by the

dominant male.

Orlan’s performance piece ‘The Head of Medusa’ (1978) concerns a literal display of the female vagina

whilst menstruating. This type of performance displays the vagina without metaphor, the literal display of

female sex in relation to the mythical monster ’Medusa’. Orlan aims to challenge female representation and

the taboo surrounding the menstrual cycle, ‘the devil took flight when the woman showed him her vulva’

(Freud:1922 Quoted in Ince: 2000: 71). Orlan attempts to state her femininity in opposition to the desired

phallus, which is the key signifier of dominance within society. However literal displays are no longer

needed as sex is being displayed in other metaphorical contexts such as cut practice which as I have said

before connotes a bleeding female vagina.

‘The artists who started to “unfold” there bodies in public…


aimed at peeling off the sedimented layers of signification
with which the body, their body, was historically and culturally
created” (Pejic: 1998 Quoted in Berghaus: 2005: 134)

This practice is a better form as it still connotes female sex however with less room for objectification as

there is less of the female body (object of desire) on show. The instrument used to make the incision could be

considered as a representation of a phallic symbol. Therefore in terms of cutting practice suggesting a sexual

experience in which the phallus (instrument used for cutting) causes the vagina to bleed, such as rape or the

loss of virginity.

Focusing on Regina Jose Galindo’s performance ‘Perra (bitch)’ (2005) in which she sat on a chair and

carved the word ‘Perra (bitch)’ into her thigh. The carving was in response to the murder and torture of

female Guatemalan prostitutes who were found with words alike on their bodies. The females had possibly

been raped therefore the incisions Galindo makes into her skin further connote this sexual significance.

Significantly Mary Coble in ‘Note to self’ (2005) had the names of victims who had been subject to gay,

lesbian, bisexual and transgender hate crimes tattooed onto her body with no ink. The constant penetration of

the needle associates with sexual actions thus connoting the rape further. The wounds connote the vagina, the

tattooing needle a representation of ’phallus’ which continuously penetrates the skin. Coble, throughout her

performance, is not just providing association to the female as her body more openly represents the ‘other‘.

In many body performance pieces the body is proposed as a natural structure, by marking the skin this natural

structure is broken down and fragmented becoming more representative of the female form. O’Reilly

proposes this opening of the body suggests an ‘alterity of otherness’ (Gauasch: 2002) therefore placing

herself in line with the victims whose ‘otherness’ was the cause of their deaths. Victims of these gender hate

crimes were often marked in similar ways with words such as ’faggot’ and ’dyke’ therefore making Cobles

form more appropriate to the context. The pain Coble subjects herself to is in memory of the suffering, the

scars stand as a trace of this memory as do many scars in general. Coble made prints of each name as it was
etched providing another form of documentation for the piece. Her body reads somewhat like a register,

which also directly interrogates the police documentation in regards to the crimes, which was non-existent.

Coble’s skin therefore acts as the documentation of these gender hate crimes. Coble argues against the

stereotypical categorizing of gender, supporting Butler’s notions that gender should be continuously

reconstructed, she makes reference to other gender categories which do not fall into the binary opposites of

male and female such as homosexuals, bisexuals and drag artists. This broken binary suggests a ‘queering’ of

Coble’s performance which connotes a gender exchange. Her body opposes hetero-normality by challenging

the natural structure of the body, opening new orifices and suggesting the crossing of boundaries.

Scarification, since the 1960’s and 70’s, has often been considered alongside the ‘gender bendering and S/M

practices which see scarification as ‘a path to enlightenment and a transformation of self’ (Pitts: 2003: 96)

providing opportunity to explore other sexual orientations outside hetero-normative. Scarification is seen as a

modern primitive which heightens the erotica of the body. The skin is the organ of sensibility (Luccioni:

1983) therefore it forms more sensual experiences in regards to sexual orientations. London club ‘Torture

Garden’, brings together S/M practices and body modifications including scarification. Encouraging ’open

minded’ people to express their fetishist practices often in relation to marking the skin. This breaks the

boundaries of patriarchal classification by highlighting other orifices in relation to sexual pleasure.

Visual artist Amie Potsic embraces scars to highlight a narrative which is both erotic and playful. Through

photographic media she explores the eroticism evident within Christian iconography and scarification. It is

important to briefly mention here the religious signification related to the performances discussed. Many of

the performances incorporate Christian iconography and the bible, in which homosexuality is condemned and

debated, even recently. The scar evokes a sensual need to touch, just as Rachel Zerihan highlights the needs

to ‘soothe’ the wounds in her analysis of O’Reilly‘s ‘Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter‘. Instead of making
her mark, as offered to her by O’Reilly, Zerihan opted to lay ‘her fingers over various openings’ (Zerihan:

2009) in an attempt to acknowledge and heal the suffering evident. This is an interesting reaction, and

different to that of other spectators. The piece is highlighting the objective position of O’Reilly’s body,

highlighting the spectator’s dominance. However not all spectators feel the need to destroy the object as

Zerihan has proved within her analysis.

I would now like to discuss Keira O’Reilly’s performances further whilst analysing its relation to ‘queer

theory‘. Keira O’Reilly, a performance artist who uses cutting practice as a medium for performance, forms

intimate relationships with her audience. Through a one on one performance form, audience members are

occasionally invited to make incisions into her skin. In a performance entitled ‘My Mother’ (2003) O’Reilly

used self cutting practice as a representation for stories related to audience members and motherly

relationships. O’Dell (1998) highlights the reflection of the home life is important to performances

concerning the skin as it emphasizes the place where the skin started. Similarly Catherine Opie’s ‘Self

Portrait’ (1993), represented within photographic documentation portrays her back, carved with a child-like

image replicating the home-life. The stick people within the image are both wearing skirts signifying a

lesbian upbringing. This replication of home life reflects the decision of classification, the upbringing of

gender. The act of scarification also proposes a masochism as a metaphor in relation to the home life. Zerihan

(2010) highlights her reception of O’Reilly’s incisions as ‘a rare encounter, framed by a ritual that involved

her marking my verbal disclosure with a physical opening that also spilled.’ Perhaps the incision is a direct

relation to the female form, highlighting the process of birth due to her mother’s presence. The wound stands

as a metaphorical vagina which has significance with most people as the place of creation. O’Reilly’s

practice can also be linked to ‘hysteria’. O’Reilly reflects her practice is aimed at highlighting medicinal

treatments practiced by males for feminine hysteria, a condition which is not recognized in modern medicine.

Treatments included the doctor manually stimulating the female vaginal area. O’Reilly draws focus to this
relation within her performances in which the wounding process has strong resonance with these patriarchal

practices.

O’Reilly’s performances can be seen as a form of ‘writing the body’. She makes reference to ‘make things

about things that I didn’t have words for…like language failed me…or words are failing me’. (Zerihan:

2010) Therefore she uses the incisions to project her own language, a language that rejects dominant

patriarchal society. ‘The skin is (re)marked, like a text or drawing, etching a history that can be followed on

the surface of the skin, like a palimpsest.’ (O’Reilly: Quoted in Gallasch: 2002) O’Reilly’s skin therefore

represents a palimpsest-like history, ‘writing her body’ in order to express her personal experiences. O’Reilly

is also displaying Julia Kristeva’s (1986) notions on ‘le vreel (true-real)’, contesting patriarchal

representation, displaying the truth and reality of her female body through the materiality of the skin. When

incisions in the skin are made the scar stands as ‘proof’ of the action, there is no representation involved, it is

a real action. This therefore makes the action of cutting the skin more personal particularly in a one on one

form. In ‘Untitled Action for Bomb Shelter’ it is the audience who are invited to make the incision confirming

a more intimate relationship between performer and spectator. O’Reilly places herself in a subjective position

by inviting the audience to penetrate her skin. The subjective position normally the role dominated by the

male, the objective position more concerned with the female and the body, as the female body is often seen as

an object of desire from the male perspective. However Case highlights

‘Women do not have the cultural mechanisms of meaning


to construct themselves as subject rather than the object
of performance.’ (Case: Quoted in Goodman and deGay: 2000:61)

By inviting the audience to mark her skin O’Reilly is both subject and object, defying the phallogocentric

mode of representation. The mode of expression is non-linear, ‘marking, scratching, scribbling, jotting

down.’ (Cixous: Quoted in Kourany, Sterba & Tong: 1992: 26) These are considered as female modes of
expression within society. Significantly Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono have performed in similar

circumstances. Ono’s ‘Cut piece’ (1964) invited the audience to cut clothing from her body whereas

Abramovic’s ‘Rhythm 0’ (1974) invited audience members to do as they wished with the 72 objects

surrounding her. These performances highlight the consequences of viewing the female object, emphasising

the passive status of women and the dominant position of the spectator. All three performances highlight the

sadistic qualities concerned with the components of look.

Orlans performances, although not entirely concerned with skin, are still important to note here. Orlan,

despite being in a position of control (as a scenographer, Orlan plans the entirety of her performance), is still

placed in a subjective position at the hands of the surgical scalpel. Through a series of plastic surgery

enhancements entitled ‘The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan’, which began in 1990, Orlan embarked on a

transformation sequence, based on paintings that attribute female “beauty” as an attempt to conform to the

surgical ideal, despite awareness that this surgical ideal was impossible. The remodeling of Orlan’s identity

places her body constantly in a liminal phase, as her transformation is never complete. Her body is constantly

placed through phases of deconstruction and reconstruction. She emphasizes her body as a commodity,

selling relics of her flesh in order to fund her performances. Orlan’s body becomes a factory and the flesh a

product of this. The relics sold are engraved with Michael Serres’ text beginning ‘What could the common

freak, that ambidextrous, mestizo hermaphrodite, now show us beneath his skin?’ (O’Bryan: 2005: 16);

’What can the common monster, tattooed, ambidextrous, hermaphrodite and cross bred show to us right now

underneath his skin’ (Wilson: no date) She also translates this text into as many language’s as possible,

depending on how much flesh is drawn. ‘[The] productivity of her body is being measured against the

capacity of languages to describe and represent it.’ (O’Bryan: 2005: 48) Orlan draws focus to people

considered outside the norm She is interrogating the westernized ideal through comparison, focusing on

people of other colour and also people outside the gender constructs of male and female, as well as
associating with ‘freaks’. Orlan’s ‘queering of the space’ is highlighted here through her emphasis on the

interior, made prominent through her emphasis on the material beneath the skin. Therefore the skin is the

projection of identity. Orlan’s transformation can also be compared to that of a transsexual operation which

also concerns a similar journey towards a goal. However Orlan displays the ideal as a false representation

which can not be achieved. Orlan includes culture and refers to mixed genders within the sold relic and

proposes these constructions have no meaning underneath the skin. By selling parts of her female body she is

marking her female status as ‘goods, objects of exchange.’ (Marks & de Courtiviron: 1981 Quoted in Ince:

2000: 140) She mimics this patriarchal construction of female in order to destabilise it.

Initial identities are formed from exterior signifiers, which relate to culture and gender.

Ron Athey’s ‘Excerpts From Four Scenes in a Harsh Life (Excerpts) (1994) involved him carving a pattern

based on African tribal ritual into his friend Darryl Carltons back (Carlton is African.) The marking of the

skin promotes a ‘breaking free from the shackles placed upon the individual by society.’ (Athey: Organ Arts

Magazine: Online) Therefore Athey is emphasising his break from society and what society expects of him in

particular regards to his gender. Significantly the usage of Carltons skin as a material for performance caused

outrage as the audience believed they were at risk of becoming infected with the HIV virus, when in fact it

was only Athey who was HIV positive and not Carlton. This proved societies naivety in reflection to the gay

man at this time in society. This performance is read as masochistic and is again inscribing the culture into

the exterior. I would like to argue that the deconstruction of phallic representations is evident within this

performance. Athey is proposing association to his femininity by creating the wounds which stand as

representation for the vagina. There is a masochistic agreement between both Athey and Carlton. Athey

makes reference to a ’Human Printing press’ in his blunt description, (see Wessendorf: 1995) suggesting that

the body is formed in a machine-like manner. Further suggesting that as people we are stamped in coherence

with expectations of society (male/ female suggesting male/ female relations). The bleeding wounds on
Carlton’s back also stand as representation for gay sexual experiences, a boundary is broken another orifice is

penetrated.

In his performance ’Zereisseprobe’ (1970) Gunther Brus dressed in stockings and cut himself with a razor

close to the audience. This further connotes a relationship with the male body and femininity, expressing the

need for a consideration of other sexual orientations outside the realms of male and female. Highlighting his

male body but projecting a female gender through the performativity of gender signifiers such as clothing

and the marking of the skin. Therefore expressing a ‘Queer’ identity outside the realms of what is considered

within the classified system of society. Like many other performances discussed within this essay the

incisions in the skin can be seen as a “rite of passage, a cleansing trial that is, in the end, life affirming”

(Athey:1994) The cleansing is seen as a demolishing of all of societies stamps, projected onto the body from

birth in favour of new stamps which signify interior representation unique to self.

To conclude this essay has provided me with new ways of thinking about the body and practices concerned

with it in relation to queer. Body artists that use skin as a material for performance are doing so to de-centre

dominant views on gender within society, marking themselves within the constructs of performance to

express there own laws and views within society. Scarification process is not just concerned as a female

action but an action that involves expression of ‘other’ orientations outside patriarchal projections. Cixous

notions of ’writing the body’ therefore can be applied to anyone who is oppressed within society. The wound

metaphorically stands as a menstruating vagina, a representation of brutality suffered at the hands of

patriarchy, a broken boundary and another orifice. Body Art immediately draws focus to sexual indifferences

marked male and female whereas the materiality of the skin is extensive, as it can stand to represent other

sexualities which are outside the constructs of the binary opposites marked male and female. The blade and

the wound create different aesthetics which are not capable of the body. Visually the skin can be made into a
palimpsest which suggests the becoming of something and as Butler emphasises one is not born a woman but

becomes a woman. The performative act of scarification is often part of a repeated sequence or is repeated at

a later date as part of another performance as gender is constituted through daily repetitive actions this draws

similarities to the act of wounding. Therefore the act of wounding forms a binary terror which favours gender

as a performative action, considering sexualities outside of the hetero-normality. However the wound

eventually heals therefore the performative action can still be argued as a patriarchal expression, the broken

boundary forms a scar which leaves traces on the exterior.

Bibliography

Butler, J (1990) Gender Trouble (Oxon: Routledge)

Berghaus, G (2005) Avant- Garde Performance: Live events and electronic Technologies (New York:
Palgrave Macmillan.)

Case, S (1990) Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre. (London: John Hopkins press.)

Certeau, Michael de (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: University of California Press)

Foster, H. (1996) The Return of the Real. (U.S.A.: Massachusets Institute of Technology.)

Gauntlett (1998) http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-butl.htm [accessed 23rd April 2010]

Gauasch (2002) http://www.realtimearts.net/article/52/9278 [accessed 14th March 2010]

Goodman, L., & Gay, J. (1998) The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance (Routledge: London)

Ireland, S (1998) Writing the Body in Marlene Amars - La Femme sans tete: The French Review (Vol 71: no
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Kourany, J., Sterba, J. & Tong, R (1992) Feminist Philosophies (Prentice Hall inc: New Jersey)
O’Bryan, J (2005) Carnal Art: Orlan’s Refacing. (U.S.A: University of Minnesota Press)

O’Dell, K. (2008) Contract With The Skin. (U.S.A: University of Minnesota Press)

Organ Arts Magazine (accessed online at http://www.organart.com/neworgan203.htm: 2nd May 2010)

Pitts, V. (2003) In The Flesh: the cultural Politics of Body Modification (U.S.A: Palgrave Macmillan)

Schneider, R. (1997) The Explicit Body in Performance . (London: Routledge)

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Stiles, K., Biesenbach, K., & Iles, C. (2008) Marina Abramovic (Phaidon Press ltd)

Wessendorf, M. (1995) Bodies in Pain: Towards A Masochistic Perception of Performance. (Accessed online
at: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~wessendo/Bodies.htm: 2nd May 2010)

Wilson, S (no date) L’histoire D’o Orlan Sacred and Profane (accessed online at
http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/people/wilson-sarah/orlan.pdf: 2nd May 2010)

Zerihan, R (2009) One on One Performance. (accessed online at


http://people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol0601/rachelzerihan/zerihan.pdf: 3rd May 2010)

Zerihan, R (2010) Revisiting Catharsis in Contemporary Live Art Practise: Kira O’Reilly’s Evocative Skin
Works. Theatre Research International (vol 35: no 1) pp32-42
SWOT ANALYSIS

Personal strengths lie within academic fields of study and analysis within contemporary performance art

however I am still attempting to better the structure and style of my essays which are a weakness. The

pathway in acting has however provided me with skills which will easily be employable within future career

prospects. Directing provided ample skills for improving my visual awareness from a directorial and

performance perspective. The pathway in acting has informed managerial and entrepreneurship opportunities,

having organized a costume department which included designing, sourcing and budgeting I developed a

strong awareness of pre-show planning and finance. I am an organized person, having always been on-time

for deadlines, being punctual and dedicated to the task in hand, always eager to be involved. Being an active

member within a devising group has provided me with strong team-work skills but I can also work alone if

necessary. I have basic technological knowledge and good communication skills and have basic knowledge

of the French language. Movement is also a strong point, being part of a GCSE in dance helped inform dance
skills, choreography skills and physical theatre. I was also a member of the British Red Cross which provided

me with skills in regards to make-up techniques.

Personal Weaknesses lie within the realm of performing textual scripts, because I find it restricting. My vocal

skills are also a weakness, having a strong Yorkshire accent with nasal resonance and natural tension is

restricting the voice from its full flexibility. Due to this restriction I would not be a strong enough candidate

to evolve into a professional actress. I have gaps in my knowledge regarding pre 1900’s performance which

can be developed within the library. Camera skills are also minimal, as I tend to over-act as is required within

theatrical constructs. Naturalistic acting is also a weakness because I find it difficult to connect emotionally

to characterization.

I am currently learning to drive which will make places easily accessible in the future. I have access to

rehearsal spaces which can help me to bring practical work up to a higher standard. Access to library with a

wide range of literary documents which could help inform my knowledge and academic skills. I am currently

looking to further my performance art studies within a postgraduate environment. I have also recently been

approached by APUS Productions a street theatre company which is aiding me in finding contacts and

developing acting skills within a street environment. I am hoping this job will provide me with finances in

order to develop my practice over the summer. I have also been involved in performances with Status Theatre

Company which has helped establish useful contacts and develop acting skills.

It is possible I may not have the money to fund myself through a postgraduate program which is currently

£4,300 and offers no bursaries, I am hoping to receive funding from a local charity. I am worried I may not

have the experience to practice performance art within my post graduate studies and am considering a year

out in order to prepare myself to work in this environment. I have also not yet defined an area or performance
art I would like to interrogate in order to earn the qualification. The course requires a high 2:1 or 1 st class

honours degree which at the moment I am on target to reach.