Touch in Irish performance art: Haptic encounters in Becoming Beloved (1995) and The Touching Contract (2016) | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Performance and Ireland
  • ISSN: 2044-3714
  • E-ISSN: 2044-3722

Abstract

Over the last 50 years, Irish feminists have campaigned for women’s sexual health and reproductive rights, including access to contraception, legal abortion and choice in maternity care and childbirth. Recent cases like (2014), (2014) and (2016) invite a close scrutiny of the power dynamics relating to women’s reproductive bodies in Ireland. This article examines (1995) and (2016), two performance-based artworks located in Dublin maternity hospitals. Both artworks centred the body as a site of production to interrogate these power dynamics while engaging with specifics of each location. This article charts the management of childbearing bodies in Ireland, looking specifically at issues concerning reproductive and sexual health, information and consent. It details how Irish performance art has responded to the political, social and cultural climate of restrictions on women’s bodies. and both employed haptic encounters, multisensory perceptions composed of tactile, kinaesthetic and proprioceptive sensations that extended beyond a visual aesthetic. These haptic encounters contributed to a dimension of viewer engagement, integral in performance art to activating meaning. This article examines how these two artworks utilized haptic encounters to produce a situated, corporeal knowledge that critiqued the authority wielded over reproductive bodies by political, religious and medical establishments in Ireland.

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2020-12-01
2024-02-21
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): embodiment; feminism; haptic; Irish art; performance art; reproductive rights
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