(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: