Waverly Mandel

Body Technique (Reasons For Sex A-Z)

Performed on August 25th during The Selkie Series: Body Technique at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust.

See preview, documentation and statement below.

Every day the body is subjected to violence and oppression. Judith Butler says, “Power not only acts on a subject but in a transitive sense enacts the subject into being.” I wonder how we can unveil the mechanisms of power in order to deconstruct them. Power is exercised through language to communicate the meaning of the body to one’s self and to others. But how could we harness language to gain control of the methods that produce our subjecthood?

BODY TECHNIQUE first records the way that desire is mapped onto the subject, and then situates the body as a site of resistance. I began with a list of words (Reasons For Sex A - Z). Mostly personal, some imagined, some based on cultural observation. Then, I used my hands in the ways of umpires or conductors or traffic controllers, to signal the meaning of each word. Finally, I extrapolated a full-body choreography to be performed in tandem with the list of words and gesture. For me, sex becomes a gateway to explore the flow of power through language into my own body. It traces physicality back to the mechanisms of meaning.

The work is presented as a live performance accompanied by sound and video.

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