Author: ricardo dominguez --- Date: 1/27/97 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC


Performance and Feminist Theory

The Drawing Center, Jan.16-1997, New York

by ricardo dominguez

Carolee Schneemann, "Cycladic Imprints,"
kinetic-projection installation,
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,

The Future Bodies panel was presented in conjunction with the Carolee Schneemann retrospective "Up To And Including Her Limits" at the New Museum of Contemporary Art that ends on January 26, 1997. The panelist were Janine Antoni (New York based artist), Laura Cottingham (New York based art critic and curator), Peggy Phelan (chair of Performance Studies at Tish School of the Arts, NYU), Jocelyn Taylor (New York based video artist), Dan Cameron (Senior Curator at The New Museum of Contemporary Art,NYC), and Carolee Schneemann. While the title of the panel called for futurology it was more about vulva archeology and to a smaller degree Schneemann's invisible effect on women's bodies-in-performance in the present.

The displacement of the future by the panelist, with one or two exceptions, went against the grain of Schneemann's own history of using the new media around her as sites of evocation. Taylor's memories of her video project came close to calling forth a new alien zone of invention for womens' bodies, the digital body--Phelan and Cottingham displayed an open hostility to these new zones. They only spoke in a state of re-call of the archic vulva not as a jump off point-- but as a bunker of counter-memories which are "Not for Sale," not for "trans-display," and not "for all." While their is no question as to the need for foregrounding the importance of women artists' history of performative research in terms of Art History pedagogy and Museum display---it cannot be the sole focus of the future body.

Certainly, Schneeman's question for women artists' and women in general--"Is it good for vulva?"--is being pushed forth by cyberfeminism(s) performative matrix to a greater degree than the works of gallery based displays by current women artist. In the same way that womens' bodies as represented by women artists' were invisible in the Art World until quiet recently--now, the future-body is being displaced by those who should most seek it out for hyperexploration.

ricardo dominguez

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