Performance art- Workshop

Today we were introduced to the concept of performance art. I knew a bit about performance art from the 1960’s, but was under the impression it was a movement that has passed. Kate Mahony showed us otherwise.


In the first half of the session, Kate spoke about what performance art is and showed us examples of the many ways it can be approached. In particular, she did focus on artists from the 1960’s and 1970’s, because this is the era she favours.

‘Why performance art?’ Kate’s answer was:

‘Performance art is always in flux. Something is constantly moving and changing. Making work in front of people means that the audience fills in the gaps with their own interpretations. Performance art is not easily bought or sold, it’s more of a tool used by artists.’

We watched ‘An introduction to performance art’ which was a video by the Tate.

I learned that it doesn’t have to involve an audience, because we can use photography and video to capture a performance instead, such as Mona Hatoum who produced a static image to document her performance of walking through the city, dragging the Doc Martins boots.

This works as a piece, because the object she has chosen has a lot of associations culturally.
Hannah Wilke, Gestures (1974)
Bruce McLean, Plinths (1971)
Erwin Wurm’s one minute sculptures


We then moved onto the workshop. The focus for the workshop was P.O.V. & site. It was about using our environment to create D.I.Y. performances. This idea was inspired by Pier, (1971) by Dan Graham, Harry Skunk and Janos Kender, in which the artists recorded the same instance but from multiple angles.

When filming with smartphones, it was suggested that we film horizontally, to avoid the black lines at the side of the video.

We were presented with a series of different objects and asked to use them to attach the phone to our bodies. Working in groups, we would be attaching the phone to a different body part, to record multiple perspectives.

Our group chose arm, foot and chest.

using tape and piece of wood.

The footage I recorded:

Placing our phones together after the workshop, allowed us to see the different perspectives, together. (above)

Using a mirror in the video, gives the impression of being in 2 places. You can see in the bottom phone above, my classmate placed a mirror in front of the camera to reflect elements of the world around her. Including the sky, ceiling, trees and architectural features.

I felt that my footage looked dreamlike due to the distortion of the clear plastic and the motion of walking. This fits with the position of the phone on my heart.

The movement in the videos are all organic, they come from the body.

What did I gain from this workshop?


When presenting information to an audience, I normally think of what I will say. But more information can be given the viewer using different modes of communication.

Video can be subtle or loud. Audio can create atmosphere and help to emphasise the subject. The technology available to us today makes this even easier. The artists on the 1960’s had heavy equipment to carry with them. We have little excuse.

I thought ‘performance’, meant being loud and exaggerated. This just isn’t the case.

Gender & design

Week 4- Gender

All categories we have explored are connected! (race, class, nature and gender) The issues don’t exist as separate experiences. This has become clear in our 4th week of exploring these categories. We should touch on this fact in our final presentations.

We first looked at the difference between sex and gender:

sex, being the biological difference between men and women. and

gender being a social construct, in people’s perception, people’s experience of themselves. These are the accepted rules and traditions; social norms.

I then read this article about social norms, from ICON magazine:

How does gender relate to design?

  • design has been a male dominated industry
  • semiotics of objects: products are designed with masculine and feminine qualities in mind. Packaging colour for example, is targeted to males or females, for example children’s toys and clothing. Baby dolls and ovens for girls and cars for boys.

Over-determination = adding an extra layer/ forcibly attributing meaning to an object.

Commodities = objects bought and sold as part of the global, capitalist system. Has a price/ an exchange value.

Gender branding

Toys “used to police the training of the young into assuming the ‘correct’ gender.”

(Not natural but historical.)

“patriarchal society benefits greatly from encouraging gender roles.”

This perpetuates a divided and rigid society. It might be profitable to keep things divided?

Gender price gap

Pink objects or women’s jeans cost more than men’s objects. It’s not rational- it doesn’t cost more to colour something pink.(It’s not to do with the quality of the object.)

Gender division = profitable. It allows them to over-price objects- particularly pink e.g. Bic biros for women. Not natural but social. (not just about colours)

The Fawcett Society is a membership charity in the United Kingdom which campaigns for women’s rights. The organisation dates back to 1866, when Millicent Garrett Fawcett dedicated her life to the peaceful campaign for women’s suffrage.

De-gendering and Re-gendering

There are now gender neutral collections from different companies, this wasn’t around 5 years ago for example.

What does De gendering mean?verb (used with object), de·gen·der·ized, de·gen·der·iz·ing. to free from any association with or dependence on gender: to degenderize employment policies. to rid of unnecessary reference to gender or of prejudice toward a specific sex: to degenderize textbooks; to degenderize one’s vocabulary.

regender (third-person singular simple present regenderspresent participle regenderingsimple past and past participle regendered)

  1. To gender anew (and differently).
    1. To cause (a person) to be seen to have a (new, different) gender identity or role. quotations ▼
    2. To cause (a thing or subject) to be gendered in a new or different way; to be associated with a new gender or with new genders. 
Pacsun launched its first kids label, Pacsun Kids, with a gender neutral collection. 

Last week, JCPenney became the latest retailer to debut an inclusive apparel line that features gender neutral options.

JCPenney is joining the ranks of other retailers, including Gap and Pacsun, in building out more inclusive fashion lines. The growing trend among major retailers shows the category is becoming more mainstream.

Similarly, Eric Archibald, creative director of streetwear brand Diplomacy, told Modern Retail that major apparel retailers launching gender neutral lines was a long time coming. Brands are launching these new lines because more consumers are expecting these types of items. At the end of the day, he said, “it’s all about the money.”

Beyond joining a global style trend, Archibald said there were “obvious benefits” to developing gender neutral lines. “For instance, you’re only creating one collection, so development costs are going to be lower than if you were designing multiple, more gender-specific collections.” 

Pointlessly gendered products

Explain why and how the objects bear a gender connotation. (Not only colour, but other features too.)

Object 1: the bicycle

Looking at women’s bikes, they are mainly pastel coloured, sometimes with white wheels, have a lowered cross bar and are sold with an attached basket. Men’s bikes are bolder in colour, have black wheels, a straight across cross bar and no baskets in sight.

The designers expect the woman to need a basket. Perhaps for shopping, a handbag or a small dog (as seen in one advert).Maybe a woman would want the colours of the bike to match her outfit. The implication is that women are expected to be fashion- conscious and men to be practical.

As for the crossbar, something I’ve often wondered about, a quick google search gave me this explanation. The crossbar provides extra strength to the bike’s structure. Why would only men need this extra structure? Does this imply that men are heavier than women? This isn’t always the case. The lowered cross bar historically was made for women, due to the wearing of skirts and dresses. Women wouldn’t need to raise their leg as high and so risk being indecent.

The question is, why does the women’s style of bike remain the norm in the present day when women often wear trousers? How high you can comfortably raise your leg is not dependent on your gender but on the individual’s flexibility. To me, it seems like tradition and accepted norms keeps these designs in place.

Object 2: the razor

men’s razors, gillette

Razors do the same job: remove hair. But the designs for men’s and women’s razors are noticeably different. The men’s razor looks more robust and stronger physically. The colours reflect masculinity. The part you hold is heavier, but this isn’t necessary for the shaving process The shape and metallic colour of the razor overall,  implies sharpness and strength in tackling hair. This is to appeal to a masculine straight-forward approach. The women’s razor has a light-weight handle and rounder, curved shape. The pastel colours express a pleasant shaving process that is gentle for the skin.

Other objects our classmates thought of: pens/ stationary, football shirts (lower neckline, tighter fit), kinder surprise chocolate, perfume and aftershave, Kleenex man size tissues, Yorkie bars, clothing (men’s jumpers are warmer).

1st wave feminism

Suffragettes were the first feminists. They were fighting for the women’s right to vote. This was in the 19th century. The suffragettes were middle class, white and educated. Because of this, their movement did not include all women.

Switzerland was the last European country to allow women to vote.

The Missouri Woman from June 1916, the Suffrage issue Poster

2nd wave feminism

Occurred between the 1960’s and 1980’s. (although this is debated).

The issues they were campaigning about was :

  • pay equality
  • reproductive rights
  • female sexuality
  • domestic violence

Class-wise, this movement included women from a different demographic. (Broader groups of women not only well dressed bourgeois women.)

In the 1970s, feminists began to fight for the right to abortion.

They were questioning housework for the first time. Linocut illustrations were used for these campaigns. In this era, women didn’t get pensions or help from welfare. They were dependent on their husbands, so in a way, marriage for a woman, could be seen as a form of slavery.

3rd wave feminism

In the mid 1990’s, the movement was explosive. They celebrated the differences across race, class and sexual orientation. It wasn’t a mass/widespread movement, but an academic discourse, involving artists and underground scenes- transgressing traditional representations. The feminists expressed androgynous femininity and gender bending, as seen in the photography by Nan Goldin.

“Trixie on the Ladder, NYC” (1979): Goldin “showed life as it was happening.”Photograph by Nan Goldin / Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin’s “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (1986) was Goldin’s first book and remains her best known, a benchmark for photographers who believe, as she does, in the narrative of the self, the private and public exhibition we call “being.” In the hundred and twenty-seven images that make up the volume proper, we watch as relationships between men and women, men and men, women and women, and women and themselves play out in bedrooms, bars, pensiones, bordellos, automobiles, and beaches in Provincetown, Boston, New York, Berlin, and Mexico—the places where Goldin, who left home at fourteen, lived as she recorded her life and the lives of her friends.

4th wave feminism

Modern day-

Concerned with:

  • trans inclusivity
  • body positivity
  • me too movement
  • trans black lives matter group
  • identity blending
  • interest in ecological issues (more than in the past)

Feminist Interrupted, Lola Olufemi

“Separating feminist history into waves, ignores the invisible struggles that haven’t been recorded.” e.g. the women from Suffragette movement had slaves who would have been women of colour. This history must also be written.

Women living under colonial rule had different struggles than the 1st wave feminists had.

OWAAD -London- 1970’s

Black women in Britain: Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent

‘The rise of Black feminism in the UK can be traced to Black women migrants from the Caribbean, Africa and the Indian subcontinent, who came to Britain after World War II. The emergence of the Black Women’s movement had its roots in post-colonial activism and the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. It sought to give voice to the specific issues that affected them including race, gender, class and sexuality, and how they intersect.’

3 kinds of type: handwritten, sans serif, green serif type.


Organised activities, produced printed matters.

‘The focus of OWAAD’s campaigns centred around health, education, employment, immigration policy and the police. Their newsletter, FOWAAD!, was used to communicate with larger numbers of Black women across the UK.’

cutting around image silhouettes, underlining type, interesting title of publication using arrows.


Methodology to address social problems. (Kimberle Crenshaw coined the phrase in 1989)

‘Kimberlé W. Crenshaw is a pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. In addition to her position at Columbia Law School, she is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.’ 

Identifies multiple factors of advantage and disadvantage e.g. one category not represented in the workplace. Black women not treated as well as white women or black men. Look at cases through the lens of more than one category e.g. caste, disability, gender, class, when we judge cases of discrimination.

Movements are not all good or bad. They can have progressive elements and problematic elements.

Neo-liberal feminism

Neo-liberal= last phase of capital development.

Models that question the welfare state. Hyper capitalistic economic model. Low taxes, support of private investment.

Defunding of the welfare state. Benefits some demographics.

Neo-liberal feminism-

‘inequality’ is a state that can be overcome (a matter of will) without overhauling the system.

Ivanka Trump Women who work is an example of this. (being an entrepreneur- ideology of self-empowering.)

Queer, trans, drag and gender neutral

Travis Alabanza TED Talk

artist, performer, writer

  • Different kinds of warrior
  • acceptance of self- compassionate. Reassuring others who feel the same (transgender or gender non-conforming).
  • We’ve each been told what we are at birth ‘you’re a boy or girl’. Trans people declare ‘that’s not who I am, that doesn’t fit.’
  • Can look many ways
  • ‘going outside, we experience this differently- public transport. Being thrown objects at, called names. 150 people saw this and no one did a thing. Violence in silence. Active choice to say nothing. Normalised attacks on gender non-conforming and trans people.
  • Every time they step outside!
  • Difference in how violence is perceived, whether it’s towards cis or trans gender people.
  • Delivery- poetic to listen to. Change in rhythm = enjoyable.
  • Storytelling rather than lecturing, asking audience to respond.

Exercise 2: Cultural jamming

Identify a contemporary ad which is gender biased. How would I amend it?

Print it and use a pen to indicate where I would intervene.

For example, Jill Posener: erase, ridicule, interrupt. (Image or the text)

It could be a still from a video or a poster image.

Jill Posener
Jill Posener

My response:

Race & design

This week’s lecture focused on race.

I was surprised to hear that we would be fitting one category (race, nature, gender or class) into each lecture. There is so much to unpack in each category! Therefore, we would end up with a brief introduction in the 3 hours we had in the classroom.

We began by discussing the statue of Edward Colston that was toppled into the river in Bristol in 2020.

This event sparked other Black Lives Matter protests around the world, but mostly in the UK and USA. Edward Colston was a slave trader. Statues are generally put up to celebrate people or animals who have done something of significance. It is my opinion that the people should be able to have a say in who is celebrated within their city. Having the statue up doesn’t make sense, so it is overdue being removed.

However, during the discussion, some people felt that the vandalism was wrong. That the statue was also artwork and therefore deserves to be respected. An image documents what has happened in history and history needs to be told. It was suggested that people could have written a petition to have it removed. Others pointed out that this would only put the power back into the hands of authorities and take away from the rebellious nature of the act.

Edward Colston (slave trader) statue being thrown into the river in Bristol, 2020.

The media response to this event was torn. Society was split about the issue. Some said that public spaces belonged to everyone. Others said that heritage and memory are a part of a city and this needs to be respected also. It was the action that expressed the rage people had.

Image from Black Lives Matter protest. ‘I understand that I will never understand, but I stand with you .’ is a phrase that sums up my feelings on subjects that don’t directly affect me.


Colonialism refers to the exploitation of large areas of the world by European countries, beginning around the African coast, in around 1500.

Image from today’s lecture, outlining the when’s and where’s of colonialism:

notebook notes:

Lautz Bro’s & Co’s Stearine Soap (19th century)
Dove advert (2017)

The Stuart Hall Project

John Akomfrah (2013)

This film gives a sweeping view of Stuart Hall’s experiences in the last century. What was brought to my attention, was just how much change took place in a short amount of time.

We hear Hall comment on significant moments in history. They are fed to us in pieces. The music of Miles Davis plays throughout, which to me was disconcerting. The trumpet whined and spoke of suffering in my opinion. Hall speaks about finding resonance with Miles Davis’ music. In this way, it fits perfectly with the subject. There is nothing relaxing about the events of the events that took place!

He explains that Miles Davis’ music matched his feelings of uncertainty, regret and nostalgia for what cannot be.

Mark Duggan Investigation- Forensic Architecture (201X)

‘On 4 August 2011, Mark Duggan was shot to death by police in Tottenham, north London, after undercover officers forced the minicab in which he was travelling to pull over.

As the vehicle came to a stop, Duggan opened the rear door, and leapt out. Within seconds, an advancing officer known only by his codename, V53, had fired twice. The first shot passed through Duggan’s arm, and struck a second officer, known as W42, in his underarm radio. The second, fatal shot hit Duggan in his chest.

V53 would later tell investigators that he saw a gun in Duggan’s hand, and felt his life to be in danger. Duggan was being monitored by Operation Trident, a controversial unit of the Metropolitan Police focused on gun crime in London’s Black communities; firearms officers had followed him from a nearby meeting, at which he had reportedly collected a gun. But following the shooting, the gun in question was found around seven metres away from where Duggan had been shot, on a nearby patch of grass. But no officers reported that they saw Duggan throw the gun, or make any kind of throwing motion.’

The video looks at this investigation undertaken by the Forensic architecture team. We are shown computer-generated videos of what had taken place. The team were able to enact all the possibilities, using mathematical equations. This would eventually lead them to rule out the possibility that Duggan had thrown the gun at all.

‘In the hours following Duggan’s death, multiple news reports falsely described an incident in which an individual had opened fire, injuring an officer. The Daily Mail called Duggan a ‘gangsta’, while the Guardian reported an ‘exchange of fire’. However, it became clear soon afterwards that W42’s injuries had been caused by another officer; a week later, investigators would admit that they may have ‘verbally misled’ journalists in the hours after the killing.’

‘On 26 May 2021, after more than a year of deliberation, the Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC) refused Forensic Architecture (FA)’s request to reopen the investigation by its predecessor, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), into the killing of Mark Duggan in August 2011. In doing so, the IOPC has chosen to ignore new evidence provided to them, evidence which served to undermine the very basis on which the original investigation had concluded that V53, the officer who killed Duggan, had no case to answer.’

The family of Mark Duggan may not have justice yet, but the work by Forensic Architecture has brought to life important truths that couldn’t otherwise have been known for certain. My mind considered the possibilities of putting technology to good use.

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

There are unique forms of discrimination that are backed up by entitlement, assertion and, most importantly, supported by a structural power strong enough to scare you into complying with the demands of the status quo. We have to recognise this.

Reni Eddo-Lodge

insularity: NOUN ignorance of or lack of interest in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one’s own experience.”an example of British insularity”synonyms:narrow-mindedness

assimilation: NOUN the absorption and integration of people, ideas, or culture into a wider society or culture.

Quotes from the chapter ‘What is White Privilege?’ :

  • racism is more than a one-off incident. It’s about the world you live in, and the way you experience your environment.
  • So many white people think that racism is not their problem. But white privilege is instrumental to racism.
  • I don’t mean every individual white person. I mean whiteness as a political ideology. A school of thought that favours whiteness at the expense of those who aren’t.
  • Racism’s legacy does not exist without purpose. It brings with it not just a disempowerment for those affected by it, but an empowerment for
    those who are not. That is white privilege. Racism bolsters white people’s life
    chances. It affords an unearned power; it is designed to maintain a quiet
    dominance. Why don’t white people think they have a racial identity?

In this chapter, the author has a conversation with ‘Jessica’, who is a woman of mixed race. She tells us about the way her white mother acts defensive when they are discussing race. “I feel like you’re forgetting that you’re white as well.” To which, she explains “Yeah, Mum, but when I walk down the street, people see a black woman.” I experience myself as a black woman.”

This was profound for me, because it made me realise, racism isn’t about us and our personal opinions, it’s about the way the world functions. Jessica isn’t waking up and deciding to be part white-and-part-black. She can never decide how she is going to be seen by the world. And the way people see each other has so much to do with history. Even if the individual is not aware of history, it still effects every person’s life. We are all in a system that we may not have created and aren’t even aware of being in. Of course a black person is most likely to be the person who sees white privilege, because they don’t have the privilege to not see it.

Black Panthers, Agnes Varda (1968)

Huey Newton

Homework Task- Newspaper page

For a homework task, our lecturer Luisa has asked us to design the front page of a newspaper, covering a chosen event concerning race. We were asked to choose from 3 events. I chose the Black Panther demonstration against Munford act.

I first needed to look at 3 articles about the event. The first article is the video I found on YouTube, from the Center for Sacramento History archive:

The Black Panthers protest the California assembly (1967)

Huey Newton

This is the second article I looked at about the event. I chose this article because it was written in recent times and looks back on the event 50 years later.

3rd article I looked at was from

Examples of newspaper front pages

I looked at this example from 1995 riots, to see how a story is covered in a newspaper article.

‘Police faced guns and petrol bombs last night as a mob went on the rampage in Britain,’ is how the article opens. I was interested to see that the article is written from the perspective of the police.

‘Shops were looted and cars torched, and officers attacked as violence exploded over a black man’s death in police custody.’ is how it continues. Therefore, the reason for the riot is the last fact to be mentioned.

Newspaper front page from 1981.

My Newspaper Front Page