“Feminism is still, in most circles, seen as radical… What you’re really saying is, misogyny is equatable with normativity.”
– Rachel Perks

And the fourth season of Audio Stage continues with the question: queer? What is queer? What is not queer? How does queer exist in performance? How does queer performance exist in the world? What is its political power, and what its aesthetic urgency?

In the second episode of the season, Jana and Beth talk to Rachel Perks, Melbourne-based performance-maker who has, in only a few years, created a whole series of acclaimed shows that explore a woman’s experience of this world: ANGRY SEXX, We Get It (with Elbow Room), and now Ground Control.

As we speak – from the comfort of Jana’s bed – Rachel has only just closed Ground Control, a courageous new work developed for Next Wave 2016, and there is an exhaustion and exhilaration, a tiredness and hopefulness, as we talk about love, about being female, about cyborgs and myths, and about how sometimes love is a duty.

Trigger warning: This episode contains mention of sexual assault and our experiences with it.

“In Australia, we feel that emotions are a totally invalid place to speak from, invalid in general. They are also associated with femininity, feminised.”

“I think you can be a women or I think you can be an ally and still put on really problematic non-feminist work. It’s very easy to just slip into stories that you’ve seen or that you’ve received, repeating those stories, repeating those tropes, repeating that normatively. I think you have to be actively trying to pursue a feminist narrative in order to realize it: because essentially we’re having to invent them. We don’t have familiar storylines to assume, we don’t have rules, there’s no guidelines – I’m making this thing up as I go along.”

Discussed in this episode:
that Cyborg Manifesto, I Love Dick, femme invisibility a.k.a. what a lesbian should look like, The L Word, being angry while a woman, sexual assault in our circles and what can be done about it, the validity of emotions, queer emotions, emotions in Australia, and ‘Why do people think that women are debasing themselves when we reveal the conditions of our own debasement?’

“Women’s relationships are so trivialized and so ignored and also incredibly underrepresented- women’s relationships with each other but also women’s relationships with themselves and the world.”

Stay tuned: we have more exciting and stimulating conversations to come.

Podcast bibliography:
Donna Haraway: The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (Paradigm)
Rachel Perks at Separating Hydrogen from Air

Photo credits: Sarah Walker.