(My) Woman’s Body is a “DISRUPTIVE POWERHOUSE” (Gorman (Holstein), 2017)
“i was asked recently post-performance what it felt like to bleed live out of my vagina and imbibe the menstrual blood. In that moment? it felt warm. i tasted warm. that was it…not about horrifying sacred spaces”
Virginia Kennard is an explicit body performance/live artist, creating queer works that intersect with feminist theory and abstracted autobiographical practice. She trained as a classical, commercial, and contemporary dancer, whose labour “is nothing else than to constantly embody, disembody, and re-embody” (Lepecki, 2016: 15). Whose output could be a whole greater than the sum of its Euclidean parts. Whose body could be “a body of agency that can politicize something” (Gorman/Holstein, 2017).
Virginia’s focus on body-based practice began with my work as a life model, encountering notional and practical differences in sexualised, objectified, and commodified bodies. She is, and have been, a sex worker, cheerleader, promo girl; these inform/become her art practice. Acknowledging that her earning power benefits from #ciswhitewoman privilege, she realises that her work is limited and complicated by (dis)empowerment, normativity, agency, ethical consumption under capitalism, and neoliberalist bodies-as-art. Virginia uses Amber Hawk Swanson’s ‘Making-Of Amber Doll’ and Adrienne Truscott, Ursula Martinez, and Zoë Coombs-Marr’s ‘Wild Bore’ to situate her work within notions of complicity in a consumerist cultural narrative that continues to place cis white women as the object of the gaze.
As a queer person, Virginia refuses “to accept identity as a static or singular aspect of subjectivity” (Jones, 2016: 4). As a feminist she commits to provisional essentialisms and fixities, where her role as a #ciswhitequeerwoman is to destroy misogyny and patriarchy. Quite a major dichotomy, she is just starting to make art that reflects these nuances, knowing that she is an unsubtle feminist brute, unapologetically, bewilderingly “aggressive”.
As a feminist, Virginia writes about fangirling and fanart as a feminist practice, even writing fanfiction. She complains ironically about resisting neat categorisation of her art obstructing programming of her work. She is discovering no-one writes about building safe spaces to create ensemble explicit performance, so she has to. She has no time for pearl-clutching, knicker-twisting moral panic – she is the Shit Filter. Virginia queers rituals, horrifys sacred spaces, radically menstruates, disrupts matrimony and hopes that her work is ground-breaking and relevant in order to make unfathomable scary exciting future “queer feminist art history…as a form of critical resistance” (Doyle, 2016:68).
 The latter performance concludes with “they are clothed in the privilege their white skin affords them” from their one TPoC performer, a damning self-referential critique in the most meta work i have ever tried to wrap my head around. #lifegoals
 “My work is undefinable” vs “No-one understands my work!” Woe is me!
Doyle, J. (2016). ‘Just Friends’. In: A. Jones and E. Silver, ed., Otherwise. Manchester: Manchester University Press, p68.
Gorman, S. (2017). Interview with Lauren Barri Holstein. [online] readingasawoman. Available at: https://readingasawoman.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/interview-with-lauren-barri-holstein/ [Accessed 26 August 2017].
Jones, A. (2016). ‘Introduction: sexual differences and otherwise’. In: A. Jones and E. Silver, ed., Otherwise. Manchester: Manchester University Press, p4.
Lepecki, A. (2016). Singularities: Dance in the Age of Performance. Oxford: Routledge, p15.