I am the embodiment of BISECT – I no longer have individual identities, and my work and life are entirely singular. I live my life as a performance. Initially, I was apprehensive of defining myself as a performance artist – this was due to my personal anxieties and what I understood performance to be. I had a limited understanding of what a performance is, and I was incorrect in thinking performance was simply doing a live staged act of art involving your own body. This lack of knowledge meant I didn’t research further into performance art until more recently in third year when I realised I had been doing more performative acts than first imagined. Eva&Adele’s live their life as a performance and this is an aspect I hadn’t considered before; therefore, their physical work is defined as an extension to their life as performance (Gisbourne, M 2007). I can relate to this through my studio practice, as the more traditional types of art that I produce are only an extension to my personal life, now I consider myself living art.
Gaining this extra knowledge into what performance art is I decided to utilise my limited studio hours doing performance paintings. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I had to adapt my studio practice to a new limited-time slot of five hours. I wanted to experiment with the possibility of a more staged performance. I decided to do a large-scale self portrait of my bodies, whilst in a conjoined dress. The image I settled to paint was one of my bodies in the same dress I painted in figure 5. (click this link to refer back to this image) My two bodies are restricted in movement because of the limited mobility in the dress and this is similar to Carolee Schneemann’s Up to and Including her Limits work (figure 7). Additionally, Rebecca Horn’s Bodily Extensions (figure 8) also inspired me due to the fact my individual bodies had become an extension of each other, to visually represent being two halves of one whole.
Figure 9 is a video documentation of myself while producing the first performance painting. My two bodies were constricted together as one entity, this reflected how I feel but also how I work. In the documentation of the performance painting, you can physically see how my two bodies go about life as one individual and that nothing is separated. Every task my two bodies can do together they will. Currently, I see my two bodies as one individual identity, as a result, I don’t refer to my practice as a collaboration any longer. Referring to the Becker’s theories of Art Worlds I know I collaborate with every person I encounter; because they influence or even help produce finished pieces. My two bodies don’t collaborate because they are one entity. Although, my two bodies contribute an equal workload; it wouldn’t matter if all one body did was suggest ideas their input is still only one half of the entirety. If both bodies don’t equally commit to the practice of living and identifying as one, the whole concept falls apart. As a result, everything done is inherently a BISECT – two equal parts of one whole, this is visually represented when my two bodies are in a conjoined garment.
When I showed these videos during a tutorial, the ‘professionalism’ of the piece was questioned. Specifically having issues with leaving furniture items in the camera shot (Saxon, G. 2020) – this made me second guess what I was doing. However, the video wasn’t to be considered a final piece of its own, it was documenting the extension of my life as a performance. “These diverse and personally invested practices have led to the development of new modes of performance and, most strikingly perhaps, the obliteration of any feasible distinction between art and life” (Johnson, D 2012). I am not naturally a very tidy person and I interact with the items around me – this was important to capture. This specific performance wasn’t just when I am applying paint to my canvas, it was everything that happened in that exact frame, and to remove them and set up a falsified scene would be detrimental to my practice. It would force me to start falsifying what I produce, and that is against everything I’m attempting to identify with. My work is a visual representation of who I am, regardless of whether it is viewed as unprofessional.