A printed conversation made transatlantically prior to a USA tour of both our bands – Good Throb and Priests. Risograph printed in an edition of 100 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. PDF Download and Extract encs.
An excerpt from KAGBB1 follows:
Katie: I think physical displays of anger, like the performance of anger is extremely gendered. Men derive power from the physical performance of anger. I don’t like violence, objectively I guess, but it’s weird how once you get in touch with that stuff it gives you a boner or something. Like I am imagining what it was like when you smashed the guy with a beer can and it excites me. Like straight up I am excited by it! I always think of that Black Eyes song where the lyrics are like “I didn’t like it/I was excited by it”, I’m taking the lyrics out of context but just thinking about that conflict of learned notions of “right/wrong” versus the very primal feelings we all have sometimes. I think about how perhaps unlearning limiting or destructive patterns maybe involves getting in touch with that deeply rooted intuition that tells you what feels right rather than what is right. So yeah is it objectively cool for me to punch people in the face or pee on their rugs, no, probably not, but let us say it was some total scumbag loser who totally fucking deserved it. Um, I’m not suggesting that I’ve done either of these things. I just think in the mean time, until women and non-men feel safe in their daily lives, let’s get in touch with performing aggression and being physical. Not to everyone, but to directed targets. We were not taught these behaviors are ok but other people were, so perhaps we must teach ourselves.
Bryony: Completely. I guess I am also interested in how this all relates to the spectacle, who makes a spectacle of themselves vs. who becomes one for others without their consent. How one looks while we are doing these things will always be foregrounded when these primal rage-feels are swirling around inside vessels that present female externally. If women had held the reigns on what went down at shows in a more overt sense from the start you can bet that slamdancing would contain more options for those us needing to avoid constantly bruised tits. This sense of being more seen, though, more visible as a body but not as a force, is hard to reconcile. Especially as a fat woman feeling sometimes clowny and clumsy and outside looking in on all this performative abandon, this has at least been my experience growing up with so precious few to no women ‘up front’ at the gig. This has changed and as a comparative old lady (in London, anyway) at the show, playing in bands has provided props to counter all this.
Katie: We (as women) are constantly reminded to consider what we are foregrounded in: our bodies, our knowledge, our sexuality, the commodification of our identities and sexuality, I guess. I think we are always fighting a voice trying to whisper in our ear, “You are outside of this, you can watch if you are lucky, but it is not a part of you and you are not a part of it”. All of us experience this in varying degrees, I think the burden of this experience on transwomen must be enormous. But, it is an enormous burden for all of us. Any time a woman is looking at her self (often) and seeing that she is not looking how she is supposed to look to make it through the gate, because the way to “make it through the gate” is to look a very specific way, she has to wonder if performative abandon is even possible? I think of what those words might mean and what I could do in my everyday life with more performative abandon.