This is the collaboration between two Cypriot female artists aiming to realize a collective project, with a dominant dissenting objective, which renders it even more interesting since, in the context of contemporary creation, such kinds of initiatives are rare in Cyprus and even rarer when questioning a view attributable to society and our social archetypes.
The parallelism of the two video projects, “Hurting the Washing Machine” and “Sorry to burst your bubble but…” appears to be on target since it permits us to better comprehend the discourse of the two artists and documents the way they operate with some continuity.
In the first video, “Hurting the Washing Machine”, the audience is confronted by two people, their identity half-concealed, since their faces are not visible but we can deduce their gender thanks to the morphology of their legs and the length of their hair (a majority reading of the European female aesthetic code). Therefore, we are evidently dealing here with two women who hit and vehemently destroy a washing machine.
The process of doubting a stereotype of our society relating to the role of woman in everyday life stands as one of the beacons of feminist contestations ever since the 70s. However, the way Washing Up Ladies operate here goes, much further and added to the intellectual ascertainment is also the corporeal commitment of the artist to materially destroy the object of her wrath, the washing machine. This is a fight against prejudice, those prejudices that want women to feel liberated after the invention of the washing machine. When the two artists pit themselves against the washing machine, their action is but a protestation against a modern mythology of the better life for women thanks to the mechanization of a chore which isn’t uplifting in the slightest!
In the video “Sorry to burst your bubble but…” the artists delve in a process that aesthetically stands at the very opposite of the first film, since the two women are now pent in an enclosed pink space, a kind of room like that of the Barbie doll, an fetish object and symbol of the code of female beauty in our modern societies par excellence. Inside this alcove, dressed in pink, our two fighters now attack a completely different enemy, since they are to burst rubber balloons one-by-one. This occurs in only relative calmness, since, despite the fact that our two protagonists proceed slowly, the act itself is violent.
But against whom, or what, do the Washing Up Ladies turn this time? These latex balls cannot but remind of condoms. The artists attack an object that has granted to women a freedom, according to male theory, that of choosing pleasure instead of procreation.
Both videos by Washing Up Ladies regard an inquiry into the power relations between men and women in society. A work wishing to review the frameworks of thought and social automations, all kinds of ideological outfits and alienations. Washing Up Ladies aim with two films, which utilize radically different but complementary mise-en-scenes, to set us thinking about such correlations of power and the social codes of a different era.
The two video/performances express this disavowal of our patriarchic societies, where rationalization results to the triumph of the mechanic over the organic, repressing the instinct of life in us. The two artists have caught the stereotype, homogenous and daily actions imposed by social conventions red-handed. Thus they attempt to put us before our responsibilities and our autonomy, and call on us to be ourselves and cultivate our differences, since freedom is the acceptance of our self and of the other. The cogitation of Washing Up Ladies is insurgent against any kind of classification and relentless when denouncing sectarianisms.
From: Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Until: Thursday, September 30th, 2010
Time: 08:00 – 18:00
University of Cyprus
Nicosia, Nicosia Cyprus