Sidney Mullis

Sidney_Mullis-SidneyMullis_MatingRitualoftheLumpbuttbouncer_videoprojection_lifesize (1)

Mating Ritual of the Lumpbutt bouncer, single channel video projection, 0:30, $50

I am interested in how woman is realized and, furthermore, performed. Considering gender to be a stylized repetition of acts, I study how bodies loop gesture, movement, and speech in social space. I am curious how a body is invariably transformed into his or her body, implying that it is only known through its gendered appearance.

This repetition becomes refined and arguably cemented during one’s coming-of-age transition. Children seem to quickly absorb and strictly enforce appropriate gender performance. For American girls, their womanhood is seemingly achieved, or their gender is solidified, once they begin menstruating. Concerned with how reproductive development is blatantly conflated with gender, my creative research focuses on this shift from playful adolescence to susceptible adulthood.

Via sculpture and performance-based video, I employ materials that are introduced to young girls during their coming-of-age transition. For example, I manipulate elastic, Performance Knits meant for leotards and Ultra Cuddle Fabrics intended for baby blankets. Withholding their cultural signifiers associated with to-be-woman, I amalgamate various fabrics, found objects, and craft supplies to disrupt and re-write existing directives, codes, and scripts.

These amalgamations are situated in space or worn on my body to be recorded for video. Once installed on my body, materials coalesce into the guises of invented animals. By playing dress-up, an activity engaged by children, I freely explore and remix many identities producing alternative species and their mating rituals.

In a make-believe kingdom of my own, I revise, rebuild, and renew the scripts of the gendered body. My work enables me to enter a child-like mindset to concentrate on experiences that were crucial to my development. I re-enter those formative moments of tender growth and rouse those coming-of-age curiosities to form a visual playground that yields deeper understanding about what it means to be woman.