Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Labours of love: Whittaker and Caesar's Starfuckers


Following in the tradition of famous artist couples such as Marina Abramovic and Ulay, performance maker Malcolm Whittaker and his partner Laura Caesar, billed as a “primary school teacher and arts and crafts enthusiast,” developed and performed the durational performance Starfuckers. Whittaker and Caesar’s suburban narrative landscapes offer a significantly more intimate if lower-key performance to Abramovic and Ulay’s break-up event, Great Wall Walk (1989).

One at a time, our partners in love and art step up to a microphone and read out a story. Some are diary entries written during the making of the project, and some are personal relationship memories. Each of these stories has been printed out and inserted into a magazine—Woman’s Weekly, Who, New Idea—torn out after they have been read and put immediately through a shredder. At the other end of the room, the detritus of these pedestrian love stories with their glossy celebrity underlay is transformed into papier-mache, moulded into figurines and baked in a small oven. Wearing aprons, the performers take turns to read, share and deliver the shreddings to be glue-soaked and flour-covered, shaped, baked and finally displayed in an ever-multiplying tableau across a long red-covered table. The small studio seems overly warm, filled with the crisp smell of baking paper, and over the hours a small army of tiny figures—effigies of the performers themselves?—gradually populates the long central table, filling up the space previously occupied by language alone.

Read the rest of my article, Labours of Love, published in the sprint and online editions of RealTime #99, here.

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