Dayna McLeod – Audiences, Empathy, and Queer Embodiment

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5 à 7
October 24, 2018
Time: 5:00-7:00pm

Feminist Media Studio
CJ Building, Room 2.130
Concordia University
7141 Sherbrooke W Montreal (Qc)

This presentation examines how I stage my queer, middle-ageing, perimenopausal body in Uterine Concert Hall, an in-situ performance art sound piece that features my uterus as a public concert venue. How we are oriented to bodies marked female (whether we have one or not), this work builds on audience’s perceived notions of what a uterus is for and proposes my uterus as a site for non-reproductive art production. I am interested in examining uterine and vaginal space as physical space, as queer space, and as sites of production. In this talk, I also discuss how I use “intimate karaoke” as a method of audience engagement, and as a means to solicit and enact empathy and vulnerability.

The latest iteration of Uterine Concert Hall asks audiences to sing their favourite karaoke song into me. Singers wear headphones that isolate and contain their voice and requested karaoke song. This mix is wired via 100-foot cable to a 54 kHz intravaginal pre-natal speaker (Babypod) that rests in my vaginal canal. Other audience members are invited to listen to the karaoke performances with me through the very flesh of my body using a 4-headed stethoscope. Sound resonates through me to this small audience as we listen to karaoke singers performing from an adjoining room. I use my body as two sites, which concurrently showcase its inside and outside through its function as a median of sociality, vulnerability, and empathy.

This presentation will track and examine how this version of Uterine Concert Hall came to be utilizing methodologies of embodied knowledge and performance as research.

Dayna McLeod is a Montreal performance and video artist. Her work uses humour, and capitalizes on exploiting the body’s social and material conditions using cabaret, duration, single channel video, and installation practices. Dayna has taught both production and theory courses over the past 10 years in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University. She is not currently teaching and looks forward to returning to the classroom. Dayna is a PhD candidate at Concordia pursuing an interdisciplinary degree in Humanities that combines studies in performance art, feminism, queer theory, age, and research-creation practices.

The 5 à 7 Speaker Series provides a forum for informal encounters among members of the Studio and the community. It consists of presentations, conversations, or critique seminars by visiting scholars, artists and activists, presentations by Studio members of work in progress (both textual and media-based), and discussions around themes that link the practices and commitments of the Feminist Media Studio community. A common theme of the 5 à 7 gatherings consists in exploring the intersections of research, creation, and political engagement in feminist work (historically, and in our current efforts to articulate our research praxes, collectively).