Color Out of Space Day 1

The opening night of Color Out of Space 2011 was aptly summed up by performance art duo I’D M Theft able and Crank Sturgeon (from Portland, Maine!) who ended their “I don’t want it” performance with a collection of cardboard cutout penises which Crank licked as he hung them on his musical cello tape washing line, and two of which Skot Spear (id m theft able) ate.  I loved their performance.  It was wild, wacky, totally over-the-top and in-your-face; an honest and vulnerable piece of musical art.

Especially appropriate in the context of an evening of experimental-electronic music – most of which was Noise, and all of which was presented by men (with the exception of Karen Constance who was part of an ensemble.)

We will hear from the women on Sunday evening – when 6 female artists will present their work.  I can’t wait!  But why didn’t they have a presence on Friday night?  Out of 9 acts, could we not have had more women?

I asked Dan Spicer about it and he got all hot under the collar and asked if I am obsessed with gender inequality issues.  I was when I was younger, then I got tired of my work being labeled feminist, and dismissed by lesbian feminist artists for not being lesbian.   A lot of my early work was about gender role stereotyping, and wanting to be a heterosexual woman free of those stereotypes.

Then I just wanted to get on with life and do my work and have the same opportunities I saw men having.

So I continued doing my work, no longer obsessed with gender stereotypes, and worked mostly in obscure solitude, snubbed and ignored by men (and their girlfriends/partners/wives) who were organizing events.  I also received hate mail from women who wanted to express themselves and were frustrated because the few times I managed to get on stage, they weren’t there too.  I got tired of going home to my cats and licking my wounds in solitude.  Then I just got tired.*

And still today, in 2011, in Brighton, U.K.  – when I ask Dan Spicer –  who is supposed to be knowledgeable about experimental music – why there aren’t more women on stage, he replies by asking me if I am obsessed with gender equality issues and piles on the shit? Why can’t he have a discussion with me about it without trying to bring me down for asking the question?  Why am I yelled at and publicly insulted for asking the question?

That’s why I loved I’D M Theft able and Crank Sturgeon’s performance.  And when I spoke with both Skot and Crank after wards and discussed the multi-layered message they communicate with the piece, especially in the context of an event that was bereft of woman’s voice, Crank had some very interesting things to say. Most notably that

…it used to be like that in the States until about 5 years ago, and now women are out there doing it as much as men.

Here are some more pics from their performance.

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Portland, Maine-based performance artist / ele...
Image via Wikipedia

4 thoughts on “Color Out of Space Day 1

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  1. Hmm… give it ten years. I have great hope. Granted, I realize I’m not from the same generation and many before me have had to work hard for what I simply grew up with. But I’ve been watching Mad Men lately (takes place in the early 1960’s) and I’m shocked by the gender inequality and racism. Granted, I know it existed, but when you don’t grow up with it, it just seems so…..foreign and strange. So ridiculous that people could be treated so differently simply because they were different. So, thanks to you Alison for all your hard work fighting for the cause. It wasn’t in vain. There have been many Alisons chipping away throughout the years, and it has made a huge difference. (Though we still haven’t FULLY arrived.) But we will. Look how far things have come since the 1960’s.
    Thanks for standing up and asking.

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