It’s Big Mouth!

SWOFFER, Sophie (2021). It’s Big Mouth! Body, space & technology, 20 (20), 116-118.

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The intermedial performance displayed in this video essay, highlights the need to re envisage Laura Mulvey’s 1975 theory of the male gaze in relation to the female-identifying ageing woman. The masculinised gaze that Mulvey discusses discards the ageing woman and relentlessly fetishizes the youthful state of femininity. I propose that Mulvey’s theory should be revised, along with a focus on rejecting and providing alternatives to the decline narrative that dominates ongoing contemporary perceptions of ageing (Gullette 1997; Mangan 2013). Applying this knowledge, along with methods of practice-based research, I argue that feminist performance art can fruitfully glorify the productive potentials of ageing femininities. This investigation illustrates how I combine digitised media with live performance to interrogate the positioning of the figure of the ageing Hollywood diva. My performative celebration of the diva is rooted in heightened performativity and the grotesque as a means of bursting through the confines of the male gaze, building on the work of performance artists such as Cindy Sherman and Lauren Barri Holstein. Highlighting my creative focus on the face as a medium for subversion, this work displays an engagement with a variety of textures and skins that the diva sheds and outgrows, alluding to the adaptability of the ageing woman. This video essay concludes by exploring the notion of the uncanny cyborgian diva. Using digital software to create an aged cyborgian version of myself, I continue to emphasise the resilient versatility of the diva. Throughout this work I ask; who is the cyborg diva? And what can we learn from her when considering the human problem of ageism? As I am 27 years old, my digital and artificial representations of ageing serve to expose the mechanisms behind my performance of age, highlight the constructedness of my performance techniques, and so challenge the problematically constructed concepts and perceptions of the ageing woman. *This video essay will consist of footage from my live performance of It’s Big Mouth! along with the film work that I shot as an accompaniment to it. The piece will also includes a written transcript for readers, along with a link to the video file*.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media; 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing; 3604 Performing arts; 3605 Screen and digital media
Identification Number:
Page Range: 116-118
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2023 15:08
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 12:47

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