WHAT IT TAKES
The cheerleader is a compelling archetype through which to consider the tension between leadership and conformity. I am interested in what it takes to maintain that duality: to be simultaneously an individual and a team member; to remain cheerful, on-point, and prepared. What does it take to be a follower, a supporter, a woman, a patriot, a hero, a human; to be trustworthy, loyal, fearless, bold, loud, synchronized, and well-practiced? I am asking questions about how this cliché is constructed and what are we left with after deconstruction.
The materials for this performance consisted of cheerleading uniforms and seam rippers on a table. I wore one of the uniforms and invited participants to help deconstruct the uniforms with me while we carried on a conversation. Participants were told that the detritus would be used to create an installation in the space the following day. Conversation moved from issues of sweatshop labor to feminist and political reflections. Many remarked that the process felt cathartic. It was striking to observe human adeptness at destroying things. The amount of damage that participants were capable of with simple tools, once they were given permission, was remarkable.
Influences include glitch aesthetics and the performative and video works of Yoko Ono, Joan Jonas, and Martha Rosler.