Her Lady’s Pleasure

Photo by Timothy James Pratt
Photo by Timothy James Pratt

Her Lady’s Pleasure was performed at The Wig, Birmingham in August 2013. This was a highly ambitious collaboration between myself and temp0rary that pushed all involved to make something that broke all our boundaries of previous work as we walked heroically into a territory none of us had walked before!

My concept was to make a live performance that created music and imagery from an orgasm! The idea was not to have the effect of a extravagant sex show but to make something so beautiful and grand scale that the physical would be transcended into something almost spiritual. It was important to me that the audience would be in control of my orgasm, and that they in turn would be part of the pleasure. This piece was a celebration of sensual pleasure, a reaction against shame and guilt, body fascism, and taboos.

The amazing temp0rary were brave enough to take me up on this idea and enabled this concept to manifest in an immersive experience where the audience were able to give me pleasure by themselves enjoying tea and cake. My experience of the pleasure was translated back through the music via a device that measured my brain activity.

The aesthetics were based on Fragonard’s rococo painting ‘The Swing’.


                                                           Image by Timothy James Pratt

I find this piece difficult to articulate. My desire to make it came from a place of wanting to feel that pleasure of all kinds should be an entitlement of life for all, that there should not be any greater excuse for it other than ‘just because it’s nice’. Pleasure can be something we deny ourselves because we do not feel worthy, because we are told it is ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’. We think our bodies are somehow inherently ‘dirty’ for being weak with our desires. This piece was a two fingers up to that attitude. I believe that it can actually take a certain strength of character and mind to actually allow oneself to feel physical pleasure fully and without guilt.  I do believe we succeeded in making a whole audience make me orgasm (twice) in a performance that was not for one second anything less than completely and utterly beautiful in every way. After the show one friend said to me ‘i never thought i’d see it but if anyone could pull off a dignified orgasm on a swing it would be you Kate’.

There is a microsite dedicated to this performance http://cunabula.io/hlp/index.html

Links to videos of the night;

By Timothy James Pratt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSUUsLyBiVs

By Peter Jones http://vimeo.com/75390691

To find out more about this piece go to the Links page of my site.

Every Time We Say Goodbye

You walk into a room, in the corner stands a woman, lit in red. She glistens softly in a long white evening dress. She moves closer, there’s something about her eyes, cloudy, under some kind of spell maybe. She draws you close and places headphones on your ears gently. Pulling you to her body you dance in each others gaze, the music playing ‘Every time we say goodbye I die a little …’. Time stops and the outside world evaporates, nothing else exists except this moment, you are the only two people in the world. Strangers. Not a word has passed your lips and yet you know each other. This moment could last forever, and yet it has to end, doesn’t it.

Spots 7

Photo by Theo Polyviou
Photo by Theo Polyviou

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Image by Bobby Whitaker

This piece is a one to one in the truest sense. I have performed it in Birmingham, Bristol and London. Intimate, seductive, funny and sad, to date I think this piece has been the one to provoke the strongest audience response.

The Human Puppet

Back in 2011 I co-curated a show called Throw the Switches at TROVE. This was a three day event celebrating the work of film director James Whale. It was also the birth place of ‘The Human Puppet’!

This performance was originally inspired by the themes in ‘Frankenstein’ of what it means to be human, what gives something ‘life’, and also the desire in humankind to dominate and have power over others.

I was suspended from the beams of TROVE, an art space that once resided in the engine room of the old Science Museum, and people were free to ‘puppet’ me from the strings I was attached too.

Photo by Ray Spence
Photo by Ray Spence

This initial performance was quite macabre, clunky, I was heavy to move. The costume, blindfold and lifelessness were all geared to make me seem doll like, on pulling the strings however, the weight of the human body reminded the puppeteer of my ‘realness’. This was a 40min interactive performance.

I then performed it again for Fierce festival, this time strung up to the front porch of a wendy house style shed. This time I was more interested in the nature of breakdown. The costume changed to a nightgown, I was eye level with people. The pully system was adjusted to make the limbs lighter to move. This time the ‘human puppet’ was a woman, not a doll, (although my small size is endlessly likened to as being doll like). This was a woman, strung up to a replica house, a pretend house, in her most vulnerable state of sleep. Maybe she had taken too many sleeping pills, maybe she just didn’t want to wake up.

More recently I performed it for Little Wolf Parade in the Market Square, Nottingham. This time I was suspended from a free standing frame, built to look like a gallows. This was performed every day for three days. On the third day i decided to wear my own clothes and go without the blindfold. The viewers response changed dramatically going from pure objectification to empathetic reactions just by the simple change of clothing.

I am hugely interested in how the surface can alter peoples attitudes to what they are looking at. This was a fantastic experiment that evidenced this human trait of assumption, judgement and then response based purely on ‘aesthetic’.