RESEARCH - Feminist text based performance art
August 13, 2008 3:14 PM
Subject: Fishing Trip -- Feminist Performance Research Expedition
Hello Friends, Consider this note a research fishing expedition.
I am currently in the early stages of a new research/archival
project entitled "Viscera & Ephemera: Feminist Text-Based Performance in Canada 1983-2008" and I am writing you today to ask if you have a memory of a feminist text-based performance (or several), or festival, or series, etc. that you think I should research for this project.
As it stands, I envision this research to include such diverse
performances as feminist sketch comedy, dub theatre, performance
art, "literary" performance (ie: based on literary works like novels,
short stories, or poetry), women's performance festivals and reading
series, and feminist/queer cabaret scenes.
Since there is generally little knowledge of these kinds of
performances beyond their immediate milieu, I am asking you to cull
your memory-banks and let me know about performances/performers
you've seen or heard about, memorable shows, festivals, performance
Most of the details about feminist text-based performance are
apocryphal and anecdotal (i.e. "you had to be there"), so this
stage of the research is very important. Imagine this being a virtual
My initial goals for this project are:
1. To show that there is a sustained and vibrant feminist
performance scene in Canada and to document the herstory (is that too Second Wave?) of this/these scene(s) and to explore the implications of the predominantly local nature of this art form.
2. To look at the aesthetics and politics of feminist text-based
performance across a 25-year period and to draw connections and
make distinctions across generations, regions, identities, and histories in order to both particularize this history, and to take it seriously.
3. To create a book that includes reproductions of ephemera from
these performances (photographs, handbills, letters, etc), and interviews with artists. Ie: Who says an academic book can't also be a fetish object?!
4. To consider how feminist text-based performance in Canada has
been part of public culture, and read it as both art & activism.
5. To theorize the ways in which identity politics have changed in
the 25-year period I consider, by navigating curatorial and production
Thanks so much for your time in reading this long message and for
whatever time you can take to consider this request and respond to
it. Please do forward this message on to your people...to anyone who
you think will have something to add.
Enjoy what's left of the summer!
All the best,
T.L. Cowan email@example.com