Girls. Women. Led one by one into an abandoned building.
Water drips from above.
Faces unseen but for items of clothing, distinct, descriptive and dank with sweat.
Men become restless. Others turn away. The rest is up to your imagination.
Inspired by characters from Charlotte Wood’s book ‘The Natural Way of Things’ I pay particular attention to ‘cruise ship Lydia’ and her sequined boob tube. I link her to the Diane Brimble case. A middle-aged woman of colour left to rot on a cruise ship with the door open whilst the men partied around her after ‘they each have had a go with her’.
Why was she unseen, why are we ok that she was unseen and why does the justice system allow us not to see? Your mother, your sister, niece, partner and best friend. This is her story. A story of negotiating space to find a place possible where women have the power to insist that they can be safe in their homes, be safe on a cruise ship and safe in our society.
This work is at times beautiful, sensual and inviting as art has the power to do. There are moments of violation when the bassists move to the front, stick their spikes into a row of coat hangers and slap their basses. The culminating sound shifts your very being and opens up a visceral world beyond a linear narrative. The cast of 10 extraordinary female performance artists inhabit a place of dirt, filth, water and fragmented language, which you follow through space, through time, through life.
The foul of the air is part of the Sites of Violence research project conducted at the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. The project explores how scholars across disciplines can work with performance artists to powerfully transmit the realities of violence, so as to build our capacity to stand in the face of the truth of violence and move away from strategies of avoidance and denial. More information