This performance considered the ‘home’ as the first, gendered, architecture of the state. In the Republic of Ireland, women’s place within the home remains enshrined in constitutional law (1937); in the North, homes were frequently raided during the Troubles by the British army, permitted by the Special Powers Act (1922). The performance considered these double roles of the private domestic space, as a space of potential invasion but also holding the potential for secrecy and solidarity between women around the kitchen table. The performance was staged in a home that was subject to repeated raids by state forces.
Audience members booked by calling a mobile phone number and received directions to a meeting place. On the day of the performance, they were greeted by a woman in this house who took their names as a radio played recent news reports (Symphysiotomy survivors in Ireland; debate about abortion in the North of Ireland; forced sterilisation of women in American prisons) and pop songs from the 1980s. When the group was gathered, they left the house and walked to the venue together. The woman knocked on the door and audience members were led inside and asked to take a seat at the kitchen table. A performer was seated at the head of the table. At most, ten audience members witnessed each performance, which involved voice, touch, sound and movement.
What am I made of?
Calcium, calcium, calcium, calcium – bone.
Saccrum, coccyx, ramus, ramus, ischium, illium, pubic symphysis
When calcium is gathered and compressed, it forms these bones. This is the opacity that can be seen in X Rays.
My bones can be broken because they can be seen…
But if I could break this calcium up into tiny parts, loosen it and flood it through my whole body, hold it in liquid suspension, I would move freely, flowing, shifting, evading surveillance.
A moving barrier, protecting the intimacy of my inside.
A continuous, uncongealed agent...
Curator (Derry): Sara Greavu
Legal workshop facilitator: Máiréad Enright
Composer: Alma Kelliher
Performer: Louise Mathews
Sound cue operator: Sarah Browne / Jesse Jones
Ushers: Aphra Hill, Sarah Browne / Jesse Jones
With sincere thanks to all workshop participants, Shá Gillespie and the Nelis family.
Of Milk and Marble is part of the project In the Shadow of the State by Sarah Browne & Jesse Jones co-commissioned by Artangel and Create. Supported by ART: 2016, the Arts Council's programme as part of Ireland 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland, Dublin City Council and Heart of Glass (St. Helen’s).