Kicking open the back door to the Tate Modern are F.A.G. (The Feminist Art Gallery) directors Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell, who have invited me to take part in their show & tell performance evening or “Axe Grinding Workshop”, ‘to fuel the power of the feminist kill joy, and shine up the old battle-axe’.
As part of this radical consciousness-raising event inside the halls of high art, I will be performing the “Rehearsal for an Endurance Performance of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto, Ukulele Concerto in C”. This winter I began working on scoring the seminal feminist text: The S.C.U.M. manifesto written by Valerie Solanas. The concerto, a rehearsal of an imagined longer performance, is just three short excerpts, sung with the “lyrics” projected karaoke style, so as to invite the audience to sing along.
The S.C.U.M. (Society For Cutting Up Men) Manifesto was written in 1968. Solanas’ wikipedia entry begins: “Valerie Jean Solanas (April 9, 1936 – April 25, 1988) was an American radical feminist writer, best known for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol in 1968. She wrote the SCUM Manfesto , which urged women to “overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and eliminate the male sex.”
Valerie’s call for the elimination of the male sex can be seen as as a call for the end to the embodied manifestation of male privilege through prescribed male roles rather than a call to eliminate the gender. The ironic wink of scoring the manifesto to the ukulele is a way of letting the audience know that this interpretation of the radical feminist text is an inclusive third-wave understanding, people of all gender identifications should feel comfortable to sing along whilst they grind their axes.
The Axe Grinding Workshop is presented in connection with the Civil Partnerships? conference on 19 May 2012, FAG (The Feminist Art Gallery) directors Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell work with ‘a diverse community of individuals and artists, and their collective and communal powers, to host, fund, advocate, support, exhibit, claim, house and feed.