For my degree show I am thinking of creating more of an interactive space rather than an exhibition space. I have found with my work, people don’t want to talk in public or with an audience about it; but they want to talk about it. I have a Facebook page that I upload all of my images to and I have found that there was a lot more engagement with images that looked ‘prettier’ but served no purpose. Now I am raising awareness on sexism and promoting feminism, I find a lot of women will say things like ‘ I don’t understand the work’ or they don’t want to be associated with the word ‘Feminism’ or the classic ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’. I haven’t come across a woman who has said she has never experienced anything I have addressed. A few women have came to me and said they find it really important, they always stop and click on the image and read what is written with it and to keep on doing what I’m doing as someone should be sticking up for us. Men, however, they will always only speak to me on a one to one basis about it. A lot will say that they agree with it and they agree with equal rights but don’t actively push it; or they didn’t really recognise certain aspects that have become social norms until they saw my post. Others have said they like my work, it is (apparently) controversial, but they get it.
I am happy it has got people talking, but I still find it so strange that people seem to be afraid about saying how they feel about the issues infront of other people yet they all seem to be saying the same things. It reminds me of when I worked as a mobile hairdresser and people would tell me anything as I stood behind them and they couldn’t see me. They phrase ‘it’s a grey area’ has come up a lot. This annoys me. I can’t see any grey areas. If something is wrong, it is wrong. But hence the grey theme with my work and my hand in set up.
So for my degree show I want to make a life-sized cardboard cut out of the collaged girl from my piece 12 of the Everyday Sexism project. For this I am going to use my head as a child on the body. I want people to feel uncomfortable as they encounter the piece. Obviously, the breasts are visible on the girl which will make the viewer aware that they have looked at them and not know what to do or where to look. I want this to represent how I felt as a young girl when my body was changing beyond my control and received unwanted attention for it. I knew people were looking but I couldn’t stop them and I hated my body for it. I then want to invite the viewer to sit facing the wall and look through The Sexist’s Alphabet. I will start by writing an experience or story on the wall. I am going to leave marker pens out to invite the viewer to write their thoughts, experiences, views, dis/agreements anonymously. I want to get people thinking and communicating; even if this isn’t face to face. I will record the interactions either with permission by videoing or recording the writings with a camera and use this as material for my next awareness project.
Depending on money (seeing as I have had to have another print of my book made) I may build a booth to make it more private for people. This is an option, but I do like the visual idea of people’s stories overlapping as when you talk to people, their experiences overlap with similarities too.
I didn’t want to create an artist’s statement as such; I wanted to be more provocative with it. I don’t want to officially invite people to write and share their thoughts etc, I want to more provoke and prompt people. I want people to stop and think. I submitted:
Attention seeker. What was she wearing?
milf, mutton, perfect, quiet, liar, princess, easy, frigid, tom-boy
Don’t breast feed in public. Show us your tits.
lady, meat, barren, selfish, spinster, crazy, mental, maternity risk, weight, weight, weight, cover up
Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t walk home alone.
Don’t wear that. Don’t say that. Don’t do that.
Don’t get raped