As female artists in our thirties, we all felt the same social pressure to fit gender and cultural expectations. These expectations were not what our hearts desired. Even if we are at the "right age" or even late to reach those goals, (bearing children, getting married, settling down and having a steady income). We decided to take a little survey on the streets of Chicago to see if in 2017, other women still felt the same way as we did and why.
Grace Exhibition Space in NYC
Lightbox Performance Space in Detroid
Hairpin Art Center in Chicago
interactive movement performance
Video Live feed
We interviewed people from different neighborhoods in Chicago (Pilsen, Little India, Roger Park, Lincoln Park, and Humboldt Park). We asked them all sorts of questions about gender expectations, their family dynamics, education, and sex.
For me, this was an expansion of my first show Guts. Using a series of moments in my life and from the different women we interviewed, I created a choreography that symbolized all these frustrations.
Ruth Stofer looked for objects which represented female binaries for her live video feed at the performance. She also researched supportive textbooks to make our point stronger.
Rebecca Stofer created a soundtrack with the recorded interviews, excerpts from the texts, and recorded natural sounds.
In 2017, we applied to the Itinerant Performance Art Festival in New York City and we got in!!!! We packed all our clothes, figurines and soundtracks and flew with all our hopes and dreams to NYC, a dream come true for any artist. We performed at Grace Exhibition Space and got a standing ovation. After that exciting weekend, we created a little tour. We went to Detroit and performed at the Lightbox Performance Space and Hairpin Art Center in Chicago receiving standing ovations everywhere we went.
After the show, people came up to us to give us hugs and congratulate us for our message. We were afraid that the message might be seen as a cliche, in that the topic had been talked about many times. But still today in America there are a lot of people who feel oppressed or pressured by societal expectations. We had a voice and used it to connect with many people.
It is our responsibility to use our means of communication and voice to be advocates for change. It is time we rethink our concepts of family, success, and culture. We, the people, create society. Let's make a good one!