Or, They’re Teaching You. Can’t You Tell?
Yes, it’s once again time to wade through the aesthetic slaughterhouse that is performance art. This time, I’m treating you to edited highlights of a ninety-minute “durational performance” by Katy Albert and Sophia Hamilton, aka Mothergirl. This Chicago duo tells us that their work “exhibits a strategically refracted or misrepresented view of current political and philosophical discourse, creating a space where viewers are challenged to think critically about their own relationships with feminism, consumerism, and representational visuality.” But of course. Given their talent, or at least their self-regard, how could it not?
In the video below, filmed in 2013 near an onramp in the city of Chicago and titled Don’t Sleep, There’s a War Going On, we see the ladies beating themselves around the head and face with large feather pillows. Thereby enlightening passers-by, obviously. The duo describes the piece as “a physical act of frustration - an ambiguous response to the implicit guilt of inaction and the weight of overwhelming knowledge.” If the point of the performance somehow escapes you, due to your philistine tendencies, the ladies provide clues to its deep meaning, and by extension their own brilliance: “The lack of clarity serves two purposes: to show the expansiveness of war and to allow [the] audience to access the image first and the meaning second.”
Now cower in the shadow of their artistic enormity: