Pandrogeny is an abbreviation of positive and androgyny and was adopted by the couple in 1993; they used this term to explain their identity. Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye, also known as BREYER P-ORRIDGE, explored their identity within their Pandrogyne Project. The project consisted of them merging their two identities into a singular embodiment; they did this by using plastic surgery as a means to make their bodies look as identical as possible- as seen in figure 6.
Genesis P-Orridge was someone I explored towards the end of my second year after being recommended to research Genesis by lecturer George Saxon. The term pandrogeny was a term I could identify within more intensely than any other artistic terminology. Although in theory, this term is similar to how I view shared identity, by coining the term pandrogeny Genesis and Lady Jaye created an extraordinary movement that was only relevant to them as an individual. Their practice was intense and explored the possibilities of being viewed as one individual to the extreme. At this point, I was progressively becoming more committed to my practice; seeing how far they pushed it made me realise the importance of my commitment level to my own practice. Although at this point, my bodies wore matching outfits regularly and had shared social media accounts, there was still a disconnect between personal lives and my art. Typically my bodies only wore matching outfits when having a specific activity and uploading separated work to a joint account in the hopes to do collaborative work after university. Exploring Breyer P-Orridge’s Pandrogyne Project made my bodies realise the importance of commitment. “The Pandrogyne Project is the love-child of both artists, exploring how fully two people can integrate their lives, bodies and minds, producing an astute commentary on the potential, as a species, for ongoing evolution” (Shaw, K 2013). Through pandrogeny Genesis and Lady Jaye were able to merge their art, lives and personalities fully, my work was slowly beginning to become more intense. I aspired to be just as committed as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge but in the most appropriate way for me. Having them as a direct reference for my own work meant I focused my time and energy more onto my identity. Over the summer holidays was when I committed to showcasing how I felt like two bodies with a singular identity; I did this by agreeing to wear the same outfits, accessories and underwear every day.
I was researching Genesis and Lady Jaye during the first U.K. COVID lockdown; this was a challenging time for me as my bodies had to be separated. So, although I won’t compare any physical work to that of P-Orridge, my mindset had changed massively. I wanted to ensure I brought a high level of commitment to my practice and sticking to specific methodologies, such as wearing matching outfits and referring to myself in singular first person to showcase how I feel on the inside to the outside world. The Pandrogyne Project encouraged me to push my life into an extremity. “At the core, P’Orridge says the work is about ‘defining your own identity. It’s reclaiming the narrative of your own story, writing your own story, designing your own identity,’ s/he says.”(Genesis Breyer P-orridge cited in Shaw, K. 2013.). Although I related heavily to this movement, I knew I needed something that branded me as an individual. I wanted my identity to be completely designed by myself, similarly to Genesis Breyer P-Orridge I wanted to create my own story and not rely on Genesis’. I didn’t want my work to be associated with Breyer P-Orridge, even though s/he inspired it. I wanted my own narrative that hadn’t been used within the art world before, giving me the fluidity to embody a term and use it solely from my perspective.
Upon more profound research of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, I had some issues with how they referred to themselves; similarly, I didn’t want to be associated with this either. I personally refer to my two bodies as ‘I/me’ as opposed to ‘we/us’; however, this is incredibly hard to do in person – not through conscious decision though. It’s hard to break a speech pattern, especially to be purposefully grammatically incorrect, consequently in verbal conversations or discussions, I sometimes still refer to myself through plural pronouns. However, Genesis consciously chose to transition back to plural after Lady Jaye’s death. “Since Lady Jaye’s death, Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE identifies as ‘we’. As such, their work inspires semantic trouble on several levels, from the capitalisation of their name to the merging of singular histories into a confusingly conglomerate identity, to the surviving artist’s decision to identify in the plural.” (P-Orridge, G. 2012a). I disagreed with this decision because it undermined their Pandrogyne Project of pushing the boundaries of being two bodies with a singular identity. In contrast, Hans Alp (discussed in collaboration) was able to continue collaborating with Sophie even after her death, in likeness to this Genesis still had the option to continue presenting as an individual by using the essence of Lady Jaye. Similarly, to Hans, Genesis could have continued with the Pandrogyne Project in a modified way to still include Lady Jaye but without undermining the work they did by referring to themselves in singular pronouns prior. This issue discouraged me from using Pandrogeny as a term and instead inspired me to create a name more appropriate for myself and my beliefs.