This post is written by Latitude 53’s Writer In Residence, Carolyn Jervis. She will be writing critically about Latitude 53 programming, the community and more on a regular basis over a six month term from April to September. Read more about the Writer In Residence program.
It’s just barely more than two weeks before the start of VisualEyez, Latitude 53’s performance art festival, so I think it’s time to start cultivating some anticipation and to talk about food, embodiment, and why your presence there is significant. But wait a minute. Will I see you there?
Performance as a widely recognized genre of art began around the sixties with “Happenings’, Dan Flavin, and recognizable names like Yoko Ono, but we can trace the lineage back to the birth of Dada. Exiled artists who fled Europe and hid out in Switzerland for the duration of World War One had gibberish poetry and lobster-esque costumes as a cornerstone of the movement. Thinking of this lineage in the context of the age-old traditions of drag and how a law still stands on the French books that women can’t wear pants, as a species we have these conflicting desires to control each other’s bodies and to also be deviant in the face of those impositions.
Embodiment is further complicated by the ways in which we work on each other’s bodies through fashion trends, beauty standards, and underhanded comments.