a domestic performance (2021)
A Domestic Performance is a series that explores the disruption between female domesticity and the queer body. The work pays homage to Chantal Akerman’s work relating to the radical potential of women rejecting their traditional gender roles.

The series explores how the gender binary clashes within a queer body occupying a domestic space of isolation. The work uses the aestheticism of Chantal Akerman’s films Je, tu, il, elle (1972) and Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) as a framework for radicalizing these conditions. The photographs are of staged self-portraits in traditionally feminized spaces in the home. These images represent the performance of the series, which illustrates how gender norms and expectations affect a person’s psyche, especially as a person who has been deemed female in the eyes of society but does not conform to the traditional gender binary. This can be seen in the details of how one operates, moves and speaks in relation to domestic spaces such as the bedroom, the kitchen, the living space and the bathroom. Additionally, the film operates as the disruption created to express the difficulties of capturing one’s self as a queer person playing the role of an idealized “woman”. Each clip expresses the vulnerability and banality of what it means to occupy domestic space.

Watch me submit myself to you — the viewer
Through this mundanity, I am stuck inside the walls of my home
A box filled with objects that represent more than their initial intentions

A fallacy; my solid attempts at womanhood
A deranged performance of female sexuality
towards my pursuit of perfection and docility 

Who is in charge of this unpaid labour?

I am the submissive and the dominant 
A duality of gender performance
An intersection of what I yearn to see within myself and how you wish to perceive me

I am at your mercy 
begging to be freed
You built this world for me
Now I must live here
Make it worth every shot

Now watch me perform 

Have you ever questioned what a childless, genderless, housewife does during the day?

Do you think they perform… for the viewers at home?

©MMXXICHRISTINA OYAWALEall rights reserved 2024