Inedible Girl: To Be Vulnerable Is To Be Consumed



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To present in a feminine manner according to heteronormative patriarchal ideals is often to perform, to be aware, and to be at risk of consumption. As a queer individual who has spent their life presenting in such a way, I have a deep understanding of the potential of violence which faces heteronormative femininity, particularly in a world which is panopticonal and built off the male gaze, and the ways in which the general public feels welcome to looking, staring, and consuming through the eyes. This work is an exploration into the ways this occurs, what can be done to disrupt the modern norm which allows it, and how the queering of feminine gender and the unveiling of femininity as a performance works to elevate the self from typical social order. The heart of this thesis is performance art, in which I interact with the world while wearing exaggerated makeup, somewhere between clown and drag, intended to embody hyper-femininity. I explore how I am treated when I present as something that does not adhere to patriarchal beauty standards—even which potentially satirizes them—and compare it to how I am treated when I present the way society intends me to, secretly filming myself throughout the process. Collections of projected videos, collages, and makeup wipes imprinted with my makeup each bolster this work, as they investigate a different element of, or background behind, this performance of hyperfemininity. These elements are the shifting into a new presentation, the vulnerability I refuse to confront, and a selfhood that becomes hidden behind the mask of makeup. Each of these elements of exploration are deeply informed by the work of artists Nan Goldin, Leigh Bowery, Sin Wai Kin, and Sophie Jung, each of whom unpick what it is to know the self, to know others, and to be seen through it all. I attempt to force the viewer, within my own work, to see me and interact with me, and to confront themselves as a voyeur. Within this, in making myself an intentional spectacle in an attempt to cover the self underneath, this begs the question: if I consent to being seen, am I still consumable?



Presentation, Identity, Performance Art, Interactive Art, Installation, Makeup, Femininity, Feminism, Queerness, Gaze, Public Gaze, Male Gaze, Panopticon, Chalk Pastel, Video Art Installation