Dr Carnesky’s incredible bleeding woman

Carr, Marisa (2019) Dr Carnesky’s incredible bleeding woman. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman, Reinventing Menstrual Rituals Through New Performance Practices (DCIBW) is a revelatory, illusory, horror filled, taboo breaking bricolage; a multimodal research project that proposes to reinvent menstrual rituals through new performance practices. DCIBW is a spectacular touring live art carnivalesque performance work premiered in 2015 and documented in this written thesis. It draws on menstruation studies from the fields of anthropology, feminism, live art and performance, entertainment history, popular culture, activism and ecology. Informed by an autoethnographical framework, it uses my experiences as a woman and a performance maker developed through the creation of a Practice as Research (PaR) live performance project. It critically engages with theories of indigenous stories, menstrual synchronicity, horror and abjection in feminism, women in variety entertainment traditions and generative eco feminist frameworks. It explores the overarching themes of cyclicity and renewal that became apparent in researching the reinvention of menstrual rituals.

The live performance features a cast of research participants who are a group of diverse intersectional queer live artists and circus skilled performers presenting physical acts in the context of an experimental performative lecture and of the theatricalised personal revelations of life experiences created through our PaR methodology.

The creation of the work explored through the thesis and the show included monthly menstrual ritual performance devising workshop weekends, qualitative interviews, group discussion, work in progress showings and live performance touring experiences. The workshops utilised existing research methods on menstrual synchronicity and the devising methods for performance drew on my existing live art and cabaret practice and the performers’ skills. The PaR explored spectacle and taboo in popular entertainment traditions including the traditional variety arts of stage magic, cabaret and sideshow, highlighting new propositions for the term Showwoman as opposed to showman to be used in contemporary performance vernacular, defining the Showwoman as using her spectacular vision in acts that are transformative and collaborative and an antidote to the entertainment traditions of the exploitative tropes of the showman.

The revelations of the touring performance and associated events of post- show talks saw the emergence of the activist group the Menstruants which went on to independently organise events and public performative interventions at the same time as the show was touring. This further informed the project to propose new methodologies for the creation of menstrual ritual and activism. The PaR, the writing of the thesis, the performance of the show and the staging of activist events resulted in the introduction of a new proposition for a theoretical term - the Menstrocene - that can contribute to a wider ecofeminist performance activist landscape.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts
B. > Theses
Item ID: 28152
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 10:30
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 09:10
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28152

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