Generous Enema

Flisher, M (2016) Generous Enema. [Performance]

Abstract

Generous Enema was the third piece of work for this doctoral project it took the form of a One-to-One performance, which was performed over two days in the cubicles of a male toilet at Plymouth University. There were seven One-to-One performances in total, each one lasting for approximately 15 to 25 minutes, and each participant was either a member of staff or a postgraduate student from the university itself. The work was based on an autobiographical narrative that explored the pleasure in the feeling of holding on to one’s bowel movements, but unlike the other two performances associated with Chapters Two and Three, this narrative was told to the participant as part of the performance. On entering the space the participant was invited to sit on the adjacent toilet and asked if they would help me give myself an enema. Layered over the top of this activity was a dialogue between participant and artist that functioned as a way for me to emphasise that the point of the work was about negotiating the terrain of my body together and that if at any point the activity became to much the participant could pause for a moment, decline to help, or leave the space. In addition to this, the layering of dialogue over the activity allowed an opportunity for me as the artist to share control of the work with the participant. As such what started to emerge during the performances was not only a negotiation of my body, but also a discussion about pleasure, emotions, why I was embarking on this project, and also silence. The different aspects of this performance outlined above will be explored in more detail later. The aims of Generous Enema then were to: 1. Draw upon understandings generated in previous performances with the aim of creating a piece of body-based performance that challenges normative representations of masculinity without reinscribing those scripts into the performance space. 2. To afford me a way to understand what generosity might be in the moment of performance. 3. To explore what generosity feels like in relation to the coherence of my identity in the moment of performance. 4. To articulate the dynamic relationship between participant and performer that emerges as a result of embracing generosity.