Media@McGill's third artist-in-residence for the 2017-2018 year is Dayna McLeod, co-hosted by Studio XX. She will be in residence during May, 2018 when she will present the Uterine Concert Hall, a performance work in which her body is the venue.
More complete date and location information will be available shortly.
Uterine Concert Hall is a vaginal media project that features my uterus as the scene of the performance and the instrument of its production. In this work, my vaginal canal acts as the stage with my cervix as the proscenium for the audience of my uterus. Equipped with a 54khz internal speaker (Babypod™) that rests in my vagina, my uterus is exposed to sound.
In past versions of this work, Uterine Concert Hall has invited external concertgoers (everyone who is not me) to eavesdrop through the very flesh of my body via stethoscope, on the faint echoes of music being played by DJs into me. Like showing up to a concert and listening from outside, this method of listening excludes external listeners because it is physically impossible for them to be present at the elbow of the [vaginal] stage to hear.
This incarnation of Uterine Concert Hall will invite external guests (everyone who is not me) to perform for my uterus as audience. Karaoke, poetry, spoken word, experimental sound works, academic paper presentations, sound-based performance artworks, are just a few of the formats that will be encouraged. The catch is that only my uterus experiences the full volume effects of the work. For example, a karaoke performance of Martha and the Muffins’ classic “Echo Beach” would allow both the uterine audience via speaker and the performer via headphone, to hear the musical accompaniment and resulting sound mix, but other audience members (everyone who is not the venue) would only hear the vocals of the performer. Think of it as isolating the vocal track for everyone who isn’t me.
Uterine Concert Hall will host drop-in events once a week in May. The focus of these sessions will be to work with participants and performers who wish to stage work specifically in and for Uterine Concert Hall. More information about these sessions will be made available at uterineconcerthall.com in May. Given the venue’s vulnerable nature, potential participants are asked to approach UCH with generosity. Any works that are misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, or racist will not be accepted.
*Please note that restricted access and hours may also be in effect, should UCH require renovations, which usually occur every 23 days [this is a metaphor for menstruation].
Intimacy as a method of connecting with my audience is central to my performance practice. In Uterine Concert Hall, sound shapes the body. During the residency, I will also explore how UCH queers the uterus as a viable physical space by disrupting heteronormative and heterocentric assumptions and expectations of a body marked female while engaging with explicit, performance-based production practices of intimacy. Further, I will examine how UCH queers digital technologies through the interruption of their intended functions (i.e. playing music for a uterus-bound fetus from an adjacent vaginal canal) that contribute to the medicalized surveillance and control culture of women's bodies.
Dayna McLeod is a performance and video artist living in Montreal. Her work uses humour, and capitalizes on exploiting the body’s social and material conditions using cabaret, duration, single channel video, and installation practices. Dayna is PhD candidate at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture at Concordia University pursuing an interdisciplinary degree in Humanities that combines studies in performance art, feminism, queer theory, age, and research-creation practices. Dayna’s latest project, Uterine Concert Hall is a sound-based, vaginal media project that features her uterus as the scene of the performance and the instrument of its production. www.daynarama.com