Hey Girl, Brilliantly Handled Symbols and Medieval Shit Feb 1, 2008
I’ve been searching every corner of my mind for the right expressive adjectives to encompass my thoughts on this piece as a whole and am now officially admitting defeat. Please imagine that I mean something more when I say that “Hey Girl! ” is important. It’s much more important than I am going to be able to describe.
My mother (a creature chiefly at home in the visual arts and my ultimate, shining example of verbal abstraction) was most impressed by the sound element of the performance. As she described it, the sound added a dimension. I’m not sure if she felt this as an additional physical or sensory dimension, but she expressed it as a feeling of movement between dimensions when the sound was added. I wasn’t consciously thinking of dimensions as I watched the performance, but this gets at the heart of the resulting power from such intense ability and purposeful layering of artistic devices. For instance, when I heard a woman would wake up from a pile of goo, I imagined that she would likely move slowly out of the goo and stand up. Basically, this is what she did, but the perfect use of lighting, sound, and her manner of movement with awareness to the sculptural possibility of the goo turned what could have been a basic artistic concept into a staggering, emotional visual and aural experience. When artists show such ability and dedication to the challenge, I will immediately grant them control over my mind for the entirety of the perfomance, they have earned it. If there was meaning attached to everything, I certainly didn’t understand it all, but I think it’s important to remember that logical comprehension is not always the goal. Many people see all indeterminate expression as equivalent to semantic failure. At its best, I see it as an invitation to semantic and emotional possibility.
Even as I try to analyze this, I’m veering off from the central impact the performance had on me, and that had to do with the director and performers’ masterful handling of the topic of this work. Yes, I am female and it’s a fairly safe assumption that I’m going to feel a particular poignancy about an artistic work exploring what it means to be female. As a woman, I’ve gone through stages of being angry at society, angry at myself, angry at men, angry at women (now substitute “angry at ” with “hurt by ” and ”¦ repeat! – it’s a fun game) to the point where I really start to twitch. I then say “fuck it all ” and live my life as though sexism doesn’t exist. Lately, thanks to politics and the media, it’s been damn hard to pretend it doesn’t exist, and once again I’ve been up at night, pissed off and horribly sad. In many recent conversations, I’ve whined in despair to anyone who would listen without rolling their eyes: “they ”¦ just ”¦ don’t ”¦ GET ”¦ it ”¦ WHY?!? ” So, specifically to the male director of this show, I’d like to say: thanks for getting it.
- Kate Ratcliffe