The Origin of the World


The Origin of the World is a collaboration with Will Dickie, which premiered at Tempting Failure 2016.

A 24 hour installation that contemplates beginnings and humanity through a giant lip syncing vulva. We chart a course through the broadest range of voices and ideas. Using lectures, sermons, documentaries, debates, songs, stories, and guided meditations to explore science, religion, history, myth, spiritualism and fantasy.

The performance takes place in a fully turfed room that has echoes of both a spiritual sanctuary and a scientific lab. Sound, light  and video technology emerge from the earth. Two live tortoises roam freely across the floor. Audiences remove their shoes, carefully enter the space and take a seat on the lush grass.

A man sits looking towards the projected image of the vulva surrounded by his DJ and LX equipment, slowly rotating a small shaky egg. He receives messages from a female voice which guide his selection. At times he becomes immersed in the sound, creating rich atmospheres of loops, effects and textures.

A woman sits behind the man. Their eyes never meet. She holds the space. She is in communication with the tortoises. They control what happens next. She manipulates her lip syncing labia to the sound, voices and musics. The atmosphere shifts regularly from humour and hysteria, to a quieter more thoughtful place.

The breadth of thought, extreme duration, cyclical structure, repetition, and magnified imagery creates a non-linear experience of time. In that space deeper thoughts are provoked and given room for contemplation. We are attending to our contemporary relationship with the planet. By presenting the vulva as mouth piece and oracle, we are confronting the ceaseless desires of our male dominator culture to measure and control nature, to create order out of chaos. Those tensions are framed with a feminist perspective through the confrontation of the wet, unpredictable, and fleshy reality of the human body.

Taking the vulva as object of meditation reimagines what that body part signifies. This work is not about sex. It is about the unimagined beauty that manifests when we look back to the unseen spaces of our origins and home.