Action on Video / 4 min
Featuring pink palmolive soap squeezed through the orifice of the fisted hand.
(Video Still Pictured)

Exhibited in "Come a Little Closer", ScreenSpace Gallery,
Curated by Laura Castagnini.
2012, Melbourne Australia.

"“Soap” (2011): The camera is zoomed in on (a) hand. She squeezes, and from the space between her thumb and forefinger oozes a pale slimy substance. As the video continues we glimpse inside the dark slippery cave of her hand, and we are reminded of other bodily orifices. Through a magnified framing technique alone, .... has transformed mundane imagery of hand and soap into a grotesque feast for the erotic imagination."
...text excerpt from exhibition catalogue, Laura Castagnini 2012.

Video footage shot during time in the Biospatial Workshop / RMIT, 2008, which “approached issues discussed in the introduction at a domestic scale, initially through the lens of contaimination and waste in urban life and the idea of lifestyles grounded on toxic practices. In picking through the politics and poetics of excreta and pollution, we found ourselves fingering a rich compost of anxieties. ... 2007-2009, Pia Ednie-Brown (ed) Plastic Green: designing for environmental transformation; RMIT University Press 2009

Exhibited in Berlin 2012, as a part of a larger compilation of videos at The Club, Neukoelln.

This work was made in connection to a larger Thesis about the Open Grotesque Body and Aktionist Live Art. [Below]

“..with the artist continually repeating the same action, certain zones are taken to the point where they turn into impenetrable, compacted blackness.”Verlag Dusseldorf, V;  Paul Mc Carthy; Brain box dream box; pp11

“… how distorted life can get inside our skin bags, our gunk balloons…”

Sam Lipstyle

…The passing of the world through the orifices of the body relates to the symbol of the Oroboros, which has been interpreted by psychologists such as Carl Jung (1875-1961) as having an archetypical significance to the human psyche. The idea that all life cycles are based on a constant turnover or cycle of matter is particularly relevant to the Open Grotesque, as it expresses the continuity of the fleshy innards of the body with the whole external universe, enforcing the idea that everything is in the process of becoming ‘Other’; being ultimately destroyed but also reborn. The human body’s physical connection to the world is often dismissed. In fear of stating the obvious, we live off the earth and in death are returned to it.

The body never cuts off its internal interaction with its surrounds and is inseparable to it; utterly dependable on it; throughout life. Therefore, we are not only connected to everyone else’s flesh, blood and shit, we are ingesting and expelling them; just as we ingest and expel the world; verifying Bakhtin’s words: the world enters the mouth to be swallowed up (Bakhtin, 1984, p.317).

In every sense, Bakhtin expresses this body as transgressor of the neat and tidy, well ironed boundaries we have set up for our bodies against the external world, or the external world against our bodies.

This boundary of the skin that we have built for ourselves lies only in the mind. Bodies surely do possess a skin, but it is permeated with orifice holes and pores blurring the line between inside and outside. Conceptually, all that has a boundary also has an interior, but can one call the skin a boundary when it does not separate inside to outside?...

The Open Grotesque Body is seen as something the world exists in relation to, inextricably associated with itself, a narcissistic form.

This narcissism is not associated with self-loving, but is reflected in the quiet design of our constructed environment’s constant relativism to our bodies. Interacting with this environment, the body transgresses itself, to be totally caught up with the space surrounding it, including architecture, phallic objects, costumes, props, materials and disconnected viscera.

The Open Grotesque is something that questions the containment of identity within the body, and as it is no longer seen as a separate entity or container, its ability to contain is lost, not being specific to a singular identity. It either has none or many: simultaneously.

Through use as a tool or penetrable surface, the display of our sticky and ambiguous areas of interiors and exteriors create a to and fro flux between life and death, eroticism and violence.

Accepted as a tube that the external world passes though and is an inseparable part of, it is a continuos being – this body transgresses the limit of death while at the same time displays its pulsating stream of blood as writhing and very much alive.

Due to the violence associated with the cutting open and penetration of such a formally sacred closed vessel, the Open Grotesque has the ability to physically disturb the audience… visceral reliquaries depict the visual aftermath of a murder scene, causing nausea.

…uncover the filthy truth: we live within mysterious jellies, and regardless of our daily, (sometimes twice daily) personal battle occurring on the surface of our squishy skin bags: this plastic victory will never come!

So, when dealing next with your gunk balloon,

“Here are some tips: Shame twice daily. Fright if necessary. Burst your kind.”

Sam Lipstyle**

**Sam Lipstiyle was the ‘unofficial murmuring lurker’ recorded and played back as an audio

addition to a McCarthy exhibition held at NYEHAUS in 2006.

Find this full paper, written by Sarah in 2008, on the theory page.

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