Monday, April 23, 2007

Milked Dry

On Friday I gave a paper at the Somatechnics conference held by Macquarie University. It was a highly personal account of my induced lactation project, part blog entry, spoken word piece, anecdote, reflection on my motivations and musing on things I had read and found useful or provocative. It was well received, and I had many a flattering comment and mind-melting question from the brilliant and very generous audience of academics and activists. I stumbled my way through question time, and came out with much to consider in terms of where my research should be directed. Currently my thinking is that I need to read a LOT of work on body art and performance and see if I can angle my thesis in that general direction.

Then it was time to head off to do my Divine Bovine show at Hellfire. The visuals didn't work, the cling wrap didn't cling, and my left tit proved Mayhem's theory that it is indeed the shyer of my breasts by refusing to squirt milk AT ALL (just a mere dribble, even after heat packs and threats and grovelling, though was working fine the next day). But somehow it came together well in the end, and as my friend and collaborater Mimoiselle told me later 'Consensus says 10 out of 10 hot chicks agree your performance was awesome'. Certainly I seemed to get an incredible amount of feedback from the crowd afterwards, all of it positive. For those who didn't make it, or were so bewildered by it that you can't remember what happened, here is a brief run-down:

First song was Patti Smith's 'Summer Cannibals'. Came out dressed in black and white paper mache cow mask of my own making, blue/red/white striped butcher's apron, tail, half-white half-black wig with wired plaits. Walked through the crowd, then across stage on all fours, stood up on my back legs, danced about. Grabbed a meat cleaver, waved it around, threatened a sweet young audience plant with it and then lifted my apron to reveal cow-bells haging from my labia piercings and made her 'go down' on me. My cohort in crime, Hunter, resplendent in white shirt and half blue/white butcher's apron, chased me about the stage with a meat tenderiser and gave my arse a little pounding. I stripped off my apron to reveal that I was painted up like a side of beef with MEAT written on my left tit and CARCASS down my right thigh (thanks to Y for the artwork). Then I pulled on some black latex gloves, grabbed a scalpel and cut the word EAT across my stomach. Hunter tried to wrap me in cling wrap, but it was all too slippery and didn't work- but still got the point across I think? MeatZoo. Second song came on, The Cramps' 'Strychnine'. Ripped off cow mask to reveal face all drawn up like meat too, danced about, sprayed milk at the audience, on me, in my mouth, on glass window at back of stage, over Hunter, fed Hunter etc. To conclude the show I proceeded to grab three milk bottles, only half full, that said 'Have You Seen MooZoo? Call 1800-Divine-Bovine' on one side and 'Pick'/'Your'/Poison on the other. Downed the milk, dribbling it everywhere, pouring over myself etc. Last bottle ('Poison') was full of pinky-red milk which I tipped over my head. Still had a few seconds left of song so rubbed my wounds and milk all over Hunter's lovely white shirt.

Afterwards was a complete maniac, hyped up and bouncing about wildly from one person to the next, holding thoughts for approximately 5 seconds if I was lucky, babbling and generally acting scatty in post-performance-shock. When I was finally able to articulate my thoughts a little I remarked to NattieTheFlattie that I felt like I had been flayed alive. Totally vulnerable and exposed, emotionally, physically, mentally.

This is not academia, this is not performance. This is ZOO, me, with skin and mind and nipple leaking my secrets to the world.

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