Hot Soak




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Peer reviewed



The DVD is documentation of Hot Soak, as performed at the Queen’s Hotel, Penzance, Cornwall in an en suite bathroom, for Tract: Live Art Festival, 2006, curated by Art Surgery/ Newlyn Art Gallery. Hot Soak was originally made for home, London, 2005. This piece marries an everyday environment (bathroom) with extraordinary materials (ice cubes/ dress bleeding red into water) creating the surreal. Sontag’s understanding of camp as a love of the unnatural, artifice and exaggeration, can be cited in relation to my work, as can such practitioners as Kira O’Reilly and Mario Ybarra Jr. Hot Soak explored the performer/ audience boundary in terms of actual physical exchange between two people in a one-to-one performance. Limits of acceptability and discomfort are an ongoing research concern of mine especially in terms of issues of sexuality, cultural difference, spirituality, and thereby where moments of connection/ transgression occur. I was also exploring how audiences co-create a work. By melting the ice cube into my mouth the audience made the work with me. The sweat from their chilled palm becomes as much a part of the fluid exchange as the ice itself. Both versions of Hot Soak enhanced my understanding of the audience’s response to intimate exchange in performance. Also, the site influenced the sense of ‘prostitution’; amplified by the anonymity of entering an aging seaside hotel room with one’s own key, as opposed to being led into a middle class domestic bathroom. The result of each interaction with a participant was a visual and visceral conversation exploring, for example, sexuality (such as, for a heterosexual woman the erotic fluid sharing with another woman), nurturing (for one woman equated the exchange with feeding me) and power (one man straddled the bath) - all dependent on their and my learned cultural and gender positioning.


RAE 2008, UoA 65 Drama, Dance and Performing Arts



Research Institute