NAOMI ELENA RAMIREZ
“Beaver,” a graphic score and performance piece, investigates the gestural language of the sexualized female form, as it is represented in the tradition of the fine art nude, pornography and mass media, in an analytical manner within the conceptual fine art exhibition space. “Beaver” interrogates the following questions: How do cultural representations of female sexuality in advertising, mass media and mainstream pornography affect how female sexuality is expressed both individually and collectively? How do phenomena like “slut-shaming” and the threat of sexual violence delineate, thwart or promote female sexual self-expression?
Culling imagery from mainstream pornography and movement improvisation, the resulting piece asks these questions through gestures and movement performed by a female body in a nude leotard and leggings. Passing through positions appropriated from porn magazines, laborious repetition, physical manifestations of the fear of sexual violence, gestures of self-appraisal, groping and female sexual self-pleasure, the female body re-performs the images seen and learned through mass media as the norms of female sexuality. The performance interrogates the impact of these norms through repetition that de-fetishizes the sexuality performed. Seated on three sides of the performance space and in close proximity to the performer, the audience must contend with a living, breathing body performing positions usually mediated through photography or video. The sexuality of the work is performed confrontationally. The intimacy of live performance does not allow the viewer an un-interrogated gaze.