Intimate Gazing

Intimate Gazing 

Tuesday, May 22

6:30pm - 7:30pm performance art works by Alexa Wilson, Noema Pasquali, Lena Chen, Eleanor Lawler, Sophie Mars and Rae Goodwin

7:30pm -8:30pm public discussion

Organized and facilitated by Rae Goodwin and Sophie Mars.


Intimate Gazing
A performance for and with people identifying as female/femme a collaborative, participatory project with Rae Goodwin (USA) and Sophie Mars (Berlin)

999: Alchemist Trauma Centre / Power Centre
999 is a “feminist meditation, poetic, activist activation”, questioning the foundations of belief systems at the intersection between cultures, particularly East and West to question “knowledge” in a way that has been described as “punk”. It was inspired by a recent residency she curated in India. Alexa Wilson (New Zealand, Berlin)

Infirmitas Sexus
Infirmitas Sexus is an extreme live art performance in which Noema stitches her labia closed in a commentary about women's silencing on sexual abuse, with the vagina as a metaphor for the mouth. Noema Pasquali (Italy, Berlin)

Using a regimen of daily breast pumping and herbal supplement to induce lactation, the artist publicly performs the private act of mothering to expose the competing expectations of womanhood. Lena Chen (USA)

an older body
Addressing the invisibility of older women in contemporary performance, Lawler reminds us that older bodies signal the oncoming fate, the sagging flesh, the change in attitude, the approach of nothingness from a life filled with the domestic, the caring, management and structure construction of a “home”, work at once invisible now turns on its creator and in a turn, she becomes invisible. Eleanor Lawler (Ireland)

7:30pm -8:30pm discussion
The Neutral gaze, Vulnerability and intimacy in life and art - open discussion with participants and members of the public, any and all genders welcome.

After the performances there will be a discussion concerning issues of the gaze, whether or not it can be neutral, the consideration of the nude body in performance art, how does it/would it feel to have a stranger regard you, how/where are intimate connections found in today's society, vulnerability in performance art, does this kind of performance action create a neutral gaze? When can vulnerability create a sense of power, confidence and connection?

Intimate Gazing
Perhaps needed now more than ever, we (Rae and Sophie) are concerned with questions of empathy and of acceptance and respect for female/femme/female identified bodies. What is it to be curious about another body/ to regard the body of another? In this collaborative project we set out to question: Can a woman regard the vulva of another woman with neutrality? Can a female or femme person regard another without the critical judgment born of the “male gaze”? Can we, as female/femme persons, remark on the qualities of another female/femme/female identified body with embodied consideration and kindness?

And what is in the phenomenology of this gaze? How can it enhance and soften our sense of self? As Pablo Neruda says: "to feel the affection that comes from those we do not know widens out the boundaries of our being and unites all living things"

In 2015 Rae and Sophie met at Essential Departures, a performance art residency at Rosekill, in upstate NY. After Rae’s performance, regarding bodies, they decided to collaborate to create a new work, regarding vaginas. Now titled intimate gazing, This work has been performed at Rosekill Performance Art space in NY, Panoply Performance Laboratory in Brooklyn, the ClitArt Festival in England and in Paris and Madrid. This performance art project was made possible in part by the generous support of the Office of Research at the University of Kentucky and the College of Fine Arts. Rae and Sophie aim to continue touring this series to galleries, women's centre's, social centre's, queer events and festivals and are open to collaborating with artists, sex educators, healers, thinkers and guest speakers.

Rae Goodwin is concerned with maternal ancestry as it influences the construction of identity, assumptions of strength and notions of agency. She is very concerned with the individual grandmothers in our society, after a whole life they are seen thru the lens of their role or perceptions of their archetype and vastly undervalued. The absence in presence and presence in absence of this grandmother figure in the social lives of families, leads her to think about relationships, relationality and vulnerability in the work. Goodwin received an MFA from Winthrop University and has shown work at the Glasshouse, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, McColl Center for Visual Art, Dimanche Rouge in Paris, 10/12 Gallery in Brussels, defibrillator gallery, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Grace Exhibition Space, BIPAF and MPAB festivals and other venues. Rae also serves as Associate Professor and Director of Art Foundations at the University of Kentucky, College of Fine Arts, USA.

Sophie Mars is a performance artist from nowhere interested in participatory and immersive work exploring communal and spontaneous energy as new means of viewing and transforming space both physically and ontologically. Always interrogating the role of the body in today's (digital) context, her themes include human connection, sexuality, virtual reality, transformation and healing. She has a BA in English Literature and Film from Kings College London and an MA in Performing Arts and Visual Arts from University Castilla-la-mancha in collaboration with Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. She also works as a dance therapist, interested in the correlation between art and therapy. She has performed in galleries, museums, streets and in-between spaces and places including Juan Gallery and Matadero in Madrid, Panoply Performance Laboratory and Art/Life Institute in New York, La Capela Gallery in Paris and SESC Sao Paolo.