My provocation is to suggest that movement of the feminine body alongside seemingly familiar objects provokes especially uncanny conditions where both material subjects become unfamiliar and politically charged. I argue that this uncanny relationship offers the performer agency to trouble and deconstruct sites of gender-normativity. I discuss my methods for exploring this destabilizing strategy through a reflective narrative of my artwork Seven Tables (2016-19). I address the physical and conceptual space of the feminine homely and unhomely whilst seeking to further understand the potentiality for the aging female performer to challenge gender constructs. Concerns with overlapping public and private space seem more relevant since the outbreak of COVID-19 And perhaps these concerns are accompanied by an uncomfortable realization that the home persists as a site of gendered roles and expectations. Through working with tables, I ask how the (un)familiar object provokes an embodied somatic response, experienced through and as the phenomenological consideration of my moving body. Prompted by Freud’s The Uncanny, my research is informed by post-structural feminist theorists, particularly Sara Ahmed who draws attention to the significance of the table in constructing gender identities. My work is an improvised choreography of encounters with the everyday. Through a corporality of rhythms and task repetitions of the body, my work celebrates the familiar feminine whilst troubling persistent constructs. Thus, this article provokes a re-assessment of notions of boundaried femininity. This writing reflects thirty years of performance art practice and emerges from my practice-based PhD research at the University of Glasgow in 2020.


feminism, gender, home, Performance Art, tables, Uncanny

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)