Our photographic work is about the absurdity of the situation that many women continue to find themselves in. After years of inheriting mixed messages about gender roles in our culture, we wonder what it means to be female now.
She Became a Kingdom examines the relationship of the female body to the space she inhabits. Hers is a kingdom of one, a world built on scrambled signifiers from an American stew of old cultural references. With a house construction site as a stage set, our character rehearses themes of power and powerlessness, sexuality and gender performance, and an exuberant liberation from the restrictions of her every-day world. The female body bangs against the emerging structure of the house in ways that are surreal, erotic, painful and mundane. She is claiming a sphere for herself within and against the masculinity of the built environment.
Mad Habitat begins with a woman alone in a home, free from domestic expectation. Against this backdrop she explores her environment anew, in a performance of everyday rituals that is both playful and precarious. The ironing board becomes a set of wings, the tub a tightrope, the wallpaper a confidant, scrambling the function of everyday objects. These endeavors at first appear to be amusing but are permeated by a growing sense of futility.
In Human Woman, the performance continues outside. We created a scaffolding for the female body as a way of making visible the constraints imposed on women which remain omnipresent but unseen. The braces are neither supportive nor protective, but instead reflect the instability of her position in the world.
Old Friends references familiar themes in the lexicon of the male gaze, many of which are common to the point of cliche––women bathing, women as barmaids, women in the garden, girls on couches. The women in these photographs take up their familiar positions, but instead of remaining the passive vessels of erotic visual pleasure that we have come to expect, they actively address their visualization by giving the finger to the viewer. The simple insertion of an obscene gesture, a signifier of aggression, into the frame serves to disrupt these pictorial tropes.
In all of our work we endeavor to visualize the physical manifestations of a socially constructed imbalance of power.