A Butoh-inspired performance by Miya Masaoka (USA/J).


Miya Masaoka: Ritual; photo: Jan Sprij

May 1999
18:00 to 21:00

Another purge of the Man Ray violin/body industry expressed with the spirit of Yoko Ono. A visually stunning and conceptual piece, this Butoh-inspired performance reflects the progression from the extremely internalised movement of the slow-moving body _ to no movement at all.

Ritual seeks to re-conceptualize the body as a canvas on which to deconstruct notions of gender, ethnicity and power. A body-in-motion that gestures and poses inherently displays idiomatic movement references, both cultural and aesthetic. A passive, non-moving body holds multiple readings for the viewer, and the level of interpretation is broad and limitless.

Ritual is a multi-media piece which includes the performer, Miya Masaoka, lying naked with giant Madagascar cockroaches roaming freely on her body. Ritual is an offering to encourage the viewer to consider the relation-ships between the social construction of the body, race and gender in performance.

Recent theoretical work by various critical theorists suggests bodies tend to indicate a world beyond themselves, beyond their own boundaries, a movement of boundary itself. Bodies cannot be said to have a signifiable existence prior to the mark of their gender; the question then emerges, how do we reconceive the body no longer as a passive medium or instrument on which cultural meanings are inscribed? The body can, for example, be thought of as machine, a work of art, an object of desire/revulsion, a site for hegemony and control, or ... an ersatz violin.

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