I create video and performance concerned with the presentation and construction of body within online and libidinal, maternal space. My research is configured around the metaphorics of space and place as associated with the Internet’s interface hardware and software.
Often collaborating with an all-female cast of volunteers and participants: amateur and professional weightlifters, spray tan beauticians, dancers, ‘tequila-girls’, strippers, midwives, sound engineers and translators, my practice provokes carnivalesque, pulsating spaces, referencing contemporary game playing, performance and what it means to “share”.
I am interested in fattening spaces so that they become full and chaotic, while at the same time flattening, compressing and reducing, so that the spaces themselves are nothing but screens or skins.
My work has been shown at the Serpentine Gallery, London, Tate Modern, London, Kunst Museum, Bonn and Yorkshire Sculpture Park and I have performed at Frieze Art Fair, London and Performa in New York. I recently co-founded the Ruskin Centre for performance at Oxford University and am currently doing A PhD in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, supervised by Corin Sworn and John Cussans.
My PhD research is multi-faceted, consisting of text, rap and script, as well as live performance, interventions into existing spaces, videos and installation, print making and sculpture. As part of the visual research, I had a solo exhibition at Carroll/Fletcher, London where I produced new video works including “Stressful, Anxious, Insomnia Fat”, “Nut Allergy”, “Complaining”, “Lolita” and “Baby Bowl” which featured a video work projected into a birthing pool shown with my collection of gynaecological equipment. Inspired by a recent App purchase, the “Glow” app, which monitors the physical and emotional daily body, the exhibition was a visual bombardment continuum of the sensitised, flatness the Internet prescribes to our intestinal, visceral beating body. Juxtaposing projected videos of flesh, fat and weight-loss with digital print outs of virtual, flattened bodies, the installation was immersive and cut-out on multiple levels. Performance took place on the opening night with real female weightlifters in the space, a spray tan artist and a rap performance. In the videos, Sumo wrestlers became flat and weightless, but refattened as they were overlaid with my Glow entries describing my daily mood and menstrual cycle. The layering of images and accelerated soundtrack of allergy concerns, complaints, and repetitions, together formed a pulsating environment of anxious delirium, while toes, feet, and surgically reconstructed nipples abound in stickers across the walls, and drew attention to emotionally charged parts of the body.
During the research, I held one of my seminars in a nail salon in Oxford, “Amy’s Nails”. I invited members of the group to have their nails done and installed a soundtrack in the salon. By staging a seminar in a nail salon, I intended to investigate key research questions around shared experience, community and intimacy. This included understanding how the supposedly “safe” space of a seminar in a university context would be disrupted when changed to a public site, and not just any site, but a site of personal grooming, where intimate exchange happens in a public way. I wanted to provoke questions around how intimacy could be managed in a real nail salon and I was interested in ideas of touching, sharing and community.
My current project documents and diarises my fertility, pregnancy and birth, through video, sound, text, print and performance. I am interested in how the maternal operates within the online and how motherhood is performed through new versions of domesticity, the digital-corporeal and desire. As my PhD develops, more and more material will be produced and weight will be added so as to form something heavier and more substantial, the research becoming fatter by the day with more video, sculpture, prints, sounds and performances. The aim will be to fatten the research by adding more and more to it, but also to flatten it, so that it becomes a screen for the work to be situated within and on top of.