(Sorry I couldn’t find bigger photos, click them to make them bigger though)
Rebecca Belmore, Vigil, 2002 (stills from a video of the performance)
This was a direct reference to the Pickton murders (murders of Indiginous women in Vancouver), which made it a public ritual with political end. The features of the performance were: scrubbing the streets, her arms covered with names of missing women, ripping a flower through her teeth, nailing her dress to a telephone pole and tearing out of it until she was left in her underwear (as recreation of dehumanization process and sexual violence inflicted upon them), and spoke the women’s names.
Her performance brought the women alive again and simultaneously, addressed the invisibility of their absence (they were not given enough priority in the media and in police investigative efforts because of their low status in society as Indigenous women and as sex workers).
This is similar to the Marina Abramovic piece Rhythm 0 that I posted earlier, although Yoko’s performance happened 9 years before. Yoko Ono’s performance piece deals with addressing issues of gender violence by directly implicating the spectator. She was kneeling on a stage, impassive, and then the audience was invited to come and cut off pieces of her clothing.
The human body is a sign of experience and identity, and performance art reflects this.
You can see a couple of videos of this piece at these two links:
This was a 6 hour performance. Laid out on a table were 72 objects the audience could manipulate in any way they wanted to upon her body. As time passed, the audience becam more and more agressive towards her and by the end she was injured and violated; her clothes taken off her body. Many of the audience members were frightened when she cut off the performance; they thought she would retaliate.
She was confronting the audience and raising their awareness about their potential for violence, particularly towards women. They placed their desires onto her passive and inert body.
The MoMA website has a good slideshow/audio presentation on the piece: http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/190/1972
Cock and Cunt Play, Judy Chicago, first performed at Womanhouse in 1972.
“Cock and Cunt is a skit in three short acts, in which two women dressed identically in black leotards with oversized, pink vinyl genitalia perform with deliberate, awkward, puppet-like movements. It begins with one student, dressed as the ‘cunt’, asking in a high-pitched, halting voice if the other, dressed at the ‘cock’, will help her do the dishes. Shocked, the ‘cock’ refuses, claiming his phallus exempts him from doing dishes. The play continues with the ‘cock’ mounting the ‘cunt’ while he declares the superiority of his sex organ, which is ‘long and hard and straight…like a gun or a missile’, and accuses the ‘cunt’ of threatening to castrate him by asking him to participate in household chores and please her sexually. The performance ends with the ‘cock’ beating the ‘cunt’ to death with his phallus. A clear mockery of gender roles, Cock and Cunt is a comedy. But humorous as it is, it is also deeply sadistic, one might call it hysterical.” - http://bodytracks.org/2009/06/judy-chicago-cock-and-cunt-play-performed-by-faith-wilding-and-janice-lester-at-womanhouse/