Carolee Schneemann has not left us. And never will. Her work will accompany us & those who come after us for as long as life & art interact. We may have a sense of the immensity of her work, but its true dimensions will continue to reveal themselves in time. In a 1965 essay reflecting on “kinetic theater” &/on her performance Meat Joy, she wrote: “All my senses lead to the logical need for extended dimensionality in space and time.” Although her art is pluridisciplinary, including drawing, film & video, happenings & installations, sculpture & kinetic theater, as well as a wide range of writings, she started as a painter — & always saw herself as such — because “anything I perceive is active to my eye… the eye follows the building of form, no matter what materials are used to establish the forms” & thus “the body is in the eye.”
At the core of her vision was her own body with which she achieved a remapping of vulvic topology that reinscribed the erotic female body into the (art)world in a new reinvigorating & exhilarating way. This inscription is crucial in order to reclaim & re-territorialize the female body and her erotics. Her expansive body(ies) of work “extend(s) dimensionality” into infiltration, seepage, a moistening process of our terrains in a widening of the deleuzian concept of the rhizome as solid root-system.
We have a double duty ahead of us: to learn to enter this work, and to learn to practice it in the dailiness of our lives. As Schneemann wrote: “Learning, all learning — the curve of the buttock as moon pushed to cloud. Learning remembering as the image opens worlds concrete, sensuous. There is no manipulating. I have been needing to retain, regain a beginning; the unwilled sight sense, palpable being — an emergence of my own world form free in space of its expressive determination, of its desire to give light.” She taught us much in our endeavor to develop what we call our “domopoetics,” a way of
collaborating as gendered bodies & minds in multiple (art)forms. Thank you
Carolee, & as Nicole wrote upon hearing of your passing:
vulvic kinetic goddess
Nicole Peyrafitte & Pierre Joris
10 March 2019