Untitled Fucking

Performance Video – 14:53 minutes

Collaboration between Xandra Ibarra and Amber Hawk Swanson

 

Read Untitled Feminism by Juana María Rodríguez – NYU Press Blog, 2014
Read Viscous Pleasures and Unruly Feminism by Juana María Rodríguez – GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Vol 21, Number 1, 2015, 10-12

Image: Stills from Untitled Fucking, 2013, Xandra Ibarra and Amber Hawk Swanson
Image: Stills from Untitled Fucking, 2013, Xandra Ibarra and Amber Hawk Swanson

 

Untitled Fucking (2013) stages a queer intercourse between sex acts and speech acts. Bringing together elements of Xandra Ibarra and Amber Hawk Swanson’s respective performance personas, this collaborative work probes the fraught seam between saying and doing that sutures not only political questions of identity and embodiment, but also deeper concepts of representation and performance, of surrogate and self.

By staging a sexual encounter between two artists, Untitled Fucking brings into contact two queer feminist art practices concerned with questions of representation and performance. From the Feminism? Project to her ongoing Amber Doll Project (2006-present)—a series of performances with a life-like sex doll made in her likeness—Hawk Swanson’s work troubles the slippage between subject and object that haunts feminist theory, asking not only who or what is authorized to speak or act, but also what queer feminist speech, acts, and relations are possible in the different performances of these positions. From the “spictacles” to her more recent FML [Fuck My Life] (2012; 2013), Ibarra has engaged burlesque performance to explore how a racist and sexist discourse renders some bodies already spoken for. Her work considers how we might interrupt and “fuck” that speech through a perverse racist manipulation of racist tropes: through pasties that turn xenophobic fears of immigrants “spreading like roaches” into an illicit adornment; and through sex with a strap-on that re-appropriates a consumable “ethnic” product in ways that literally penetrate whiteness and femininity.

Through queer sexual vocabulary of topping, bottoming, and “bottoming out,” Untitled Fucking is a collaboration that stages the deep and complicated interplay between the performance of white feminism and the feminisms of color that whiteness excludes. The piece also poses a collective challenge to the systems of representation that discipline the notion of political “voice.” Working in the erotic interplay between saying and doing, Hawk Swanson and Ibarra rehearse the queer and feminist contradictions that arise when explicit sex and performance collide, directing us towards the untitled and yet to be articulated horizons of political possibility.