DIY: 2019 – The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein: ’Attack of the 50 Foot Woman’

Reimagining Scale, Ambition and Access for Monsters in Performance, through the lens of Feminist Sci-Fi: A space for freaks, weirdos, difficult bitches, witches, aliens and polyspecied monsters to imagine their work on a large scale.

Deadline for applications: 2pm, Thursday 20 June
This DIY is supported by Home Live Art

Project summary

Exploring the impact and weight of our work as marginalised makers, this workshop will encourage performative acts of disruption, dystopia and provocation, as we explore what it means to infiltrate cultural contexts and institutions steeped in normative representation.

1. How do we inhabit our own monstrosity? We will investigate a sense of unbridled embodiment, the uninterrupted pleasure of being that woman/subject/species we might most want to be. We will become that inter-species, polygendered, dirty, joyous creature that can destroy a city.

2. What is it about dirty bitches that institutions just don’t like? What are our varied experiences of being large, creating impact, working at scale; of being allowed access to ‘established’ contexts; of politicising spaces, sites, and contexts that are steeped in normativity? What do we want the landscape of contemporary performance to look like? How does sci-fi help us reframe these questions? How have the subjects and authors of feminist sci-fi literature and film answered these questions within their own worlds and forms?

As a group of monsters, we will inhabit and takeover a cultural space – and, possibly, the city itself. We will create performative actions together of both gargantuan insurrection, and nanoscopic infiltration, seeping through the cracks and folds of normative structures, leaving chaos and destruction in our wake.

We will THINK BIG, through the use of the tools of our sci-fi predecessors: inter-species and inter-gendered dystopia, Afrofuturism, monstrosity, abduction, multiple realities, rebellion, destruction, rebirth…

This will be a space for ‘difficult women’ – marginalised bodies of various experiences, backgrounds and identifications – to imagine a world in which we are not crammed into the corner, the basement, pulling a show out of a suitcase every time we rock up to a venue.

What would it look like for us to dominate, infiltrate, to take up space?; to stop apologising for our bodies, our mess, our boldness?; to ask for the money we deserve in order to make a living, make a spectacle, pay our people decent wages? And most importantly, how do we do all this and remain political, in the margins, poking holes, and not become part of the established system of representation that rewards normativity?

We will inhabit, embody, and own our monstrousness, our otherworldly weirdness, as a method towards this politicised takeo

How to apply

This workshop will be open to any artist identifying as female, non-binary, polygendered, polyspecied, alien, monster, or witch. I invite artists from all genres, including performance, visual art, film, literature, etc. I want a bunch of bold, risk-taking killjoys, who aren’t afraid of their own bodies, or, at the very least, don’t want to be. I am committed to creating an inclusive group of participants, whereby people of colour, non-cisgendered, mixed ability artists are both welcome and given a space to vocalise, experiment, and create impact.

Dates, times and location

Dates: 20 – 22 September 2019
Location: Hastings (exact location TBC)

The artist

My practice investigates contemporary feminisms, critiquing problematic representations of women in pop-culture whilst proposing alternative modes of female subjectivity. Being a ‘difficult’ woman working at scale, and creating space for others to do the same, has been, and remains, my most precious ambition. I have pissed on these large stages, I have ripped apart their programming (RSC again? really?), and I have problematised the way their audiences view a female body on display on stage. I have tried tirelessly to dystopia these theatrically low-risk, high-normativity, spaces with my body, my politics, my mess – whether or not I get invited back is another matter. Since 2009, I have developed a substantial body of work (Notorious, Splat!, How to Become a Cupcake, How 2 Become 1, etc.) presented and supported by Live Art, Dance, and Theatre contexts in the UK, Europe and US.

In 2017, I premiered my largest work to-date, Notorious, supported by ACE, The Barbican, Reykjavik Dance Festival, PACT Zollverein, Koneen Saatio, Fierce Festival and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. It recently toured to Kampnagel, Hamburg as part of their season opener and opened Take Me Somewhere at Tramway. In 2018, I was featured in a BBC Radio 4 interview alongside Marina Abramovic and Laurie Anderson on pop-culture and performance art. In 2013 ‘Splat!’ premiered at The Barbican, opening SPILL Festival to sold-out audiences and critical acclaim.  I am currently creating a web series (The Famous on TV) and developing performances with teenagers in both the UK and Germany (Really Real Teenz). I hold a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London, and my work has been studied by international scholars and students. I have lectured at numerous UK and European universities, and have published several articles and book chapters.

For questions about this DIY, please contact the artist.

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