MYBODYISYOURBODYPROJECT – Quartet – (music/performance)

to buy your digital copy of Quartet click here

Quartet is Italo-British collective Amae’s latest project. A cross-over between performance art and music that articulates rhythm using a tattoo machine on the performer’s skin, the needles land on four points of resonance placed on the body, producing notes of different length.
The queer body becomes an interactive music sheet and an instrument which affirms its own presence in the world. It creates vibrations and notes, sound and noise. This then extends its presence and connection with celestial motions.
The project features a collaboration with South African singer and songwriter Charles East who contributed lyrics, dark atmosphere and piano recorded at the Dutch Reformed Church in Ladismith.
The collaboration also includes the intervention of Sozu project, which performed the post-production and all the arrangements and remixes.
Quartet is a set of 1 video and 5 different remixes (video version; piano & voice; tattoo remix, wave remix; ending theme remix) that come in both digital and 2 different limited-edition physical versions (Quartet; Quartet Blood and Bandage Deluxe).

Transgenital Panic – Performance – Kaunas 2015.

In collaboration with photographer Marco Berardi.

‘The nakedness of a woman is the work of God’
William Blake

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AMAE. Transit. Uneasiness. Corporeality.

by Giuseppe Carrubba

“For hundreds of years, in fact, there have been men whose function has been precisely to see and to make us see what we do not naturally perceive. They are the artists. […] Art would suffice then to show us that an extension of the faculties of perceiving is possible.”

Henri Bergson

Our body and all the things that surround us determine the shape and substance of what happens inside and outside ourselves, which in turn relates to the development of our identity, in both the personal and the social sphere.

The body, which acts as an autobiographical texture contained within an ongoing process, is Italo-British collective Amae’s performative poetic. It mixes tribal practices of initiation with disconcerting social and philosophical theories: political actions that free our mind of restrictions regarding gender identity. Amae focuses on the role of social structure in the construction of relational, sexual and normative concepts.

Amae and Queer culture, both of which re-discuss the body influenced by feminist critique, resort to psychoanalytic relational forms and to a deconstructionist approach towards the discourse about the norm and its possible transgression. In doing so, Amae reveals all possible conjugations of desire and its objects.

The artistic action is strengthened by its subversive function compared to a socially coded order and gives voice to all the other identities who also hold a conversation with codes and symbols of sexual categories as an exercise of critique and reflection on power.

The body becomes the object of investigation and the subject of deconstruction, within a process of analysis that exists on the threshold where materiality, language and destabilisation of the norm trigger exclusion or social degradation.

Reflection on the binary of masculine-feminine requires an understanding of the power relations and conflicts deeply rooted in western culture. It requires an understanding of how life and the legitimacy of desires are conditioned by politics and institutions. As well as how these institutions control the gendered body within structures of spatialization of social relations.

This psychoanalytic discourse becomes a tool of critique of cultural conformism and understanding of sexuality in all its real or imaginary forms, because it is a very important part of human relation – together with a fantasy-like dimension which is a fundamental aspect of the experience of a sexed body.

This allows us to conceptualise gender by investigating the psychic and the social in their forms of seduction and punishment. It defines the relation between repression and identity of human beings exposed to guilt and debit, self-punishment and discipline. We do all this according to the custom of imprisoning and identifying the correspondent body and soul.

Modern subjectivity, the need for liberation, together with the desire of sharing created the assumptions for the critique of gender identity, and this has only become feasible by virtue of the freedoms offered by contemporary attitudes.

The physical, political, technological, biological, emotional and psychic body represents the ideal, the virtual or real interface that reveals its transformation through notions of transience. This happens within an investigation that, originating with the personal, becomes a social aesthetic model in relation to processes of perception and sensory knowledge.

The phenomenology of eccentricity and deviance produced social resistance and has acquired negative implications because it destabilised hegemonic culture by trespassing and violating bourgeois, institutional and patriarchal culture, especially during the 8th century.
Contemporary homophobia is historically connected to the cultural transformations of the 19th and 20th centuries in relation to the need to build a virile and strong masculinity as a cultural model which lead to a code of behaviour limited by orthodox and aggressive masculinity.

In 1969, Valie Export, with a picture, tells the story of a performance ‘Action Pants: Genital Panic’. In this piece, the artist is sitting on a chair with spread legs while holding a machine gun, her trousers cut with her genitals well on show. Art transforms the body together with its associated social codes to spark a cultural revolution – a step out of the box: the feminist fight enters contemporary art.

Transgenital Panic (Lithuania, June 2015) is a performance by Amae that gets its inspiration also in a critical way, by taking Valie Export’s action and its subsequent re-staging by Marina Abramović, who, in 2005, in the attempt to physically own – and therefore monumentalise – the piece, refreshes the performance. It still uses the machine gun but now the focus is not the conflict but instead the performance is a reprise of the original’s aesthetic and metaphoric dimension.
This document is seen as a milestone in performance art within the wider project Seven Easy Pieces.

Legend tells that Export went to a porn cinema holding a machine gun, with her trousers open exhibiting her genitals. The picture that documents the action amplifies it and adds to its plausibility. This myth has transformed it into one of the icons of feminist action, where the phallic symbol of the machine gun is a tool and metaphor of the conflict between the sexes.

With Amae the body reveals itself in all its transitory facets with codes and symbols de-signed within an aesthetic of chaos that is a result of their fluid and ambivalent thinking. On this occasion what shows is a penis with ovaries tattooed on it; thus, the sex, real or imagined, becomes a metaphor for the conflict between genders.

The machine gun here is replaced by the tattoo machine, inverted and turned against the same body that controls it. It becomes an element of definition and determination of the self and gender identity.

The representation of the contemporary body affirms itself in the mise-en-scène of an action that is both investigative and critical through the construction of a powerful visual discourse intended to subvert the economic and productive role of the social body.
Knowledge and power reveal their inexorability, exposing sexuality as a basic device of productive politics and its multiple strategies.

The performative vision of the body in an enclosed space affirms itself in a poetic of self-imprisonment, as a visceral reaction to control and agony.

The culture of suburbs and clubbing, such prisons or places of liberation, exposes our bodies to the ultimate journey, to the wakefulness, to the electric and cardiac dysfunction at the threshold of the limit of sound. We lose and find ourselves in the evanescence of hours; in the spatial and perceptual disorder with the aim of being born again.

The culture of postmodern fragmentation produced a paraded body re-defined by social, cultural, economical and technological practices and which relativised the subject.

The ‘disconcerting’ and the ‘discomfort’ in the ritualistic action relate to existential anxiety. They define the persistence of the gesture, necessary and cathartic, as the affirmation of the I. They activate processes of equilibrium, tolerability and pacification of the self.

In Kaunas, Lithuania, Amae’s collective body coalesces into a performer who moves into an abandoned building and an Art Gallery. There is no audience and the action is documented by the photographer Marco Berardi, who asked Amae to choose a quote by William Blake as a conceptual and visual synthesis of the action: ‘the nakedness of a woman is the work of God’.

The (way Amae uses the) quote is explicit but also ironic and contradictory. With his trousers open the performer shows male genitalia with a previously made tattoo of a female reproductive system, which through self-tattoo is transformed into an abstract, improvised shape.

The relationship between opposites and their possible conflict get erased by this alternative symbolic research, in which the contamination of the body, its elaboration and its development represent moments of a shamanic journey that sublimes, through the performative action into an epidermal inscription of the material and the spiritual.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
BERGSON, H. (2000), La percezione del mutamento, in Pensiero e movimento, trad. it. Di F. Sforza, Bompiani, Milano.
BUTLER, J. (2014), Fare e disfare il genere, Mimesis, Milano.
CASANOVA, M. (2008), Il Corpo del Reato. La Reclusione, CACT Publications, Switzerland.
FOUCAULT, M. (1994), Potere e strategie, Mimesis, Milano.

Giuseppe Carrubba (1963) is an art critic and freelance curator.
He graduated at DAMS, art department of Bologna University, attaining a thesis on contemporary art, and did some research in relation to the avant-garde movements and its poetics.
He writes for specific magazines, webzines, publishers and cooperates both with art galleries and cultural associations and institutions like MACT/CACT Contemporary Art in Canton Ticino, Switzerland. The experiences and the places he lived made him being an acute observer of artistic realms, which – due to their rich suggestions – would feed him with a multiform and eclectic imagery. This brought him to digress into the framework of music and New Media Art as well as the counterculture of thinking.
He lives in Siracusa (Sicily), where he deals with writing and didactics in the field of arts.

MYBODYISYOURBODYPROJECT: “The otherselves series”, Act. 1: Indelible – Performance

The human body occupies spaces.

It moves into them.

It evolves into them.

It dreams into them.

“Are these places safe or dangerous for our body?”

“What if the body WAS a place?”

“What if it could be the safest place on Earth?”

Acknowledging the presence of marginalized categories Amae’s body is now ready to host and treasure their signs on its skin. If you are a same sex couple and you believe in the person you love you are invited to leave a trace of your feelings on Amae’s skin. Being part of “The Otherselves Series” will change your life forever. We exist. It’s a fact.

Love.

Amae

“…The only pandemic is love…”

MYBODYISYOURBODYPROJECT – “What made you queer?” – Self-extrusion, Immanence, Improvisation, Doodle. – Performance

DOODLE

Belongingness: is the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. The motive to belong is the need for “strong, stable relationships with other people. This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give and receive affection from others.

Immanence: refers to philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence in which the divine is seen to be manifested in or encompassing the material world.
Another meaning of immanence is the quality of being contained within, or remaining within the boundaries of a person, of the world, or of the mind. This meaning is more common within Christian and other monotheist theology, in which the one God is considered to transcend his creation.

Branding: The punishment was adopted by the Anglo-Saxons, and the ancient law of England authorized the penalty. By the Statute of Vagabonds (1547) under King Edward VI, vagabonds and Gypsies were ordered to be branded with a large V on the breast, and brawlers with F for “fravmaker”; slaves who ran away were branded with S on the cheek or forehead. This law was repealed in England in 1550. From the time of Henry VII, branding was inflicted for all offences which received Benefit of clergy (branding of the thumbs was used around 1600 at Old Bailey to ensure that the accused who had successfully used the Benefit of Clergy defence, by reading a passage from the Bible, could not use it more than once), but it was abolished for such in 1822. In 1698 it was enacted that those convicted of petty theft or larceny, who were entitled to benefit of clergy, should be “burnt in the most visible part of the left cheek, nearest the nose.” This special ordinance was repealed in 1707. James Nayler, a Quaker who in the year 1655 was accused of claiming to be the Messiah, convicted of blasphemy in a highly publicized trial before the Second Protectorate Parliament and had his tongue bored through and his forehead branded B for “blasphemer”.
In the Lancaster criminal court a branding iron is still preserved in the dock. It is a long bolt with a wooden handle at one end and an M (malefactor) at the other; close by are two iron loops for firmly securing the hands during the operation. The brander would, after examination, turn to the judge exclaiming “A fair mark, my lord.” Criminals were formerly ordered to hold up their hands before sentence to show if they had been previously convicted.
In the 18th century, cold branding or branding with cold irons became the mode of nominally inflicting the punishment on prisoners of higher rank. “When Charles Moritz, a young German, visited England in 1782 he was much surprised at this custom, and in his diary mentioned the case of a clergyman who had fought a duel and killed his man in Hyde Park. Found guilty of manslaughter he was burnt in the hand, if that could be called burning which was done with a cold iron” (Markham’s Ancient Punishments of Northants, 1886).
Such cases led to branding becoming obsolete, and it was abolished in 1829 except in the case of deserters from the army, which were marked with the letter D, not with hot irons but by tattooing with ink or gunpowder. Notoriously bad soldiers were also branded with BC (bad character). The British Mutiny Act of 1858 provided that the court-martial may, in addition to any other penalty, order deserters to be marked on the left side, 2 inch below the armpit, with the letter “D”, such letter to be not less than an inch long. In 1879 this was abolished.

Doodle: A doodle is an unfocused or unconscious drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be abstract shapes.
Stereotypical examples of doodling are found in school notebooks, often in the margins, drawn by students daydreaming or losing interest during class. Other common examples of doodling are produced during long telephone conversations if a pen and paper are available.

doodle!

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