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Pågående projekt

andrea ray

If an individual’s subjectivity is in great part constructed by institutions, as Michel Foucault has argued, then how can the feminist project advance when marriage is still at the core of our value system? My research and artistic work aims to intervene, counter, and rework the chronopolitical, heteronormative narratives of constraint, omission, and dominance that institutions like marriage still retain.  Developing and utilizing new forms of address that enact disruption within an experiential form, my PhD project proposes to include sound and sculptural installations, creative writing, and an analytical text.

My doctoral project exists at the intersection of art practice and sociology. My time-based installation form embodies textual and aural qualities that (uniquely) illicit affect, and by breaking lateral thinking through non-linear conceptions of time, my practice will prove an effective contribution to further the feminist project. I will argue for affect, as experienced in audio installations as a productive form of disruption and productive contribution to the sociological concerns of subjectivity and gender, of affinities and friendship, and love and belonging in a project that explores the individual through the lens of the social.

Through this creative practice (sound installation) I’m arguing for the importance of the polyamory movement as having the potential for social change toward greater equality among the sexes. I explore the subject matter through former and current models of non-monogamous living to analyze its (potential) effects on patriarchy. Research materials evaluated are, for example: historical memoirs of intentional community members, contemporary queer theory, and chrono-politics. Based on own experience of marriage and divorce as an artist, woman and mother, I will also examine personal journal writing, attorney e-mail correspondences, courtroom meetings with law clerks and a judge as source material from which texts are composed, a play is written, an installation is created. The analysis of my own experiences, which reveal an impasse in feminism where patriarchy firmly imposes its weight on my body through discourse, law, and time, illuminate the structures that enable the patriarchy to persist. My art practice will challenge and intervene into these spaces of constraint, weakening the links of power and expanding the discussion to alternative models, namely that of the non-monogamous, as sites of great egalitarian potential.

Beginning with qualitative research methods as practice, I’m studying sexual politics. While the sexual practice of polyamory has been little theorized, when it has, it hasn’t included the social ramifications relative to the hetero-normative, patriarchal state. This project will do that. The research and analysis will be/is utilized to formulate performative conversations between, for instance, radical utopian voices of the former free-lovers with those of the polyamorous in the present moment. This project examines how a collection of radical moments and proposals across time can result in an altered perception and reevaluation of the monogamous-normative state—the state of politics that rules our health care, family laws, and much more.

By challenging the legitimacy of linear, normalizing constructions, my project links voices across time, presenting a synchronous conversation of feminist utterances that reveal a sense of always having been present. I argue that A Reeducation, as an embodied form of sound installation, will produce/produces a unique chrono-subjectivity in which visitors commune, rub up against ideas and contradictions, at times recognize themselves as protagonist in a non-linear, non-chronological space of theater-as-installation that creates a disruption to heteronormative constructions, and (aims to) illuminate a freer future-subject. In this manner I engage in practice as research. The analytical text will evaluate the trans-disciplinary project’s poetic form of experience and transmission and its contribution to the discourses of art and sociology/feminism.

The project is not simply a rejection of gender difference and marriage. The focus of the project is the desire for our value system to root somewhere else. My artistic research project aims to establish a new ground of resistance regarding subjectivity—A Reeducation, refusing the positions we think we must assume—perhaps then, we may begin anew.