What would a feminist methodology sound like? Empowered captivating orators, a manifold of voices with varying perspectives and, of course, some rad music and a couple of feminist dance parties.

All images are Liquid Architecture FM[X]: What Would a Feminist Methodology Sound Like?, documentation of a live performance and exhibition program curated by Danni Zuvela and Frances Barrett, 1-2 September 2016 at Firstdraft, Sydney. Photo: Jek Maurer. Courtesy of Liquid Architecture and Firstdraft.

The line up was: Linda Dement, Gabi Briggs, Lorna and Aunty Jenny Munro, Maysa Anouxeid, Leila El Rayes, Coco Solid, Cinamon Templeton, Madboots (who missed the plane but still made it), Hannah Brontë and Del Lumanta, Evelyn Araluen Corr, Saba Vasefi, Claire Cooper, Chloe Alison Escott, Roslyn Helper, Kimchi Prinici and Matka.

I write this piece from the BBQ listening to sound pumping out of two speakers next to me. The sound clips included with this text are responses from the audience to the three performance works from this event that have stayed with me.

Firstly, a spoken word performance from Lorna and Aunty Jenny Monroe introduced as a conversation through poetry. Sliding easily yet forcefully from the fast rhythm and flow of the younger, Lorna Munroe, to the metered strength of Aunty Jenny. The air at once was filled with the truths of the past downgrading the illusions of historic record, healing, the strength of future generations, and a reminder to be tolerant. Employing their own words and the works of others, Aunty Jenny began with, the Desiderata by Max Erhmann, she read it to her kids before she knew of her own aspirations as a verse-maker; it sticks in my mind as a way to walk through the world without surrender and in peace.

After an acknowledgement of country in Moari, Rapper/activist/artist Coco Solid examined the platforms on which we produce artworks, in particular the filtered expectations of institutions on the performance of culture, gender and disability, that denies “Our right to be messy and wrong and to have our ideas rupture…” Solid’s response for fitting into the expectations and politeness of institutions is to not hold back, to allow herself to respond unapologetically to question the tamed, colonial, capitalist version of performed diversity that only allows safe radicalism.

On entering into gallery 3 on the first night of performances the smell of Gabby Briggs shaven and burnt hair delivered a pungent introduction to the room. The sound of burning hair from a private performance with her mother was also an affront. The gallery contained a small stage with a bowl of burnt hair, flanked by two wall-mounted speakers. This ritual performed for protection was only experienced by the audience as remnants, but powerful in its absence.

Highlights detailed to me by others were Cinnamon Templeton’s intimate conversation on the reality of safety in queer spaces, Leila El Rayes dancing in a skirt made of knives and Saba Vasefi’’s stand up routine.

Salote Tawale is a Sydney based artist. Review of event held at Firstdraft, 1-2 September  2016.

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