Performance Studies: Inhabiting Erasures: The problem of presence: liveness and performativity
Inhabiting Erasures: The problem of presence: liveness and performativity
Presenter: Dr Rakini Devi
This paper includes different perspectives of the elements associated with liveness in performance, such as intimacy and embodiment, and the limitations of online performing bodies across the arts that due to its very nature, creates a sense of absence or erasure. I will be drawing on my recent multidisciplinary exhibition Inhabiting erasures, embodying traces of the feminine (March 2021), that focused on the “erasure” of women from global misogynist atrocities. The work was developed during lockdown and self -isolation and followed a Rex Cramphorn residency where I experimented with ideas that later featured in my exhibition. My only contact with the world outside was via social media and zoom. My exhibition aimed to expand my concept of embodiment and invisibility or erasure, both in a literal sense and as metaphor for the erasure of women through global misogynist atrocities. I expressed these through my journal art, large-scale canvas paintings and installations, using canopies, costumes and objects that created a sense of the absent body. For the opening and closing performances with live music, I inhabited one of the empty canopies.
I also draw on another paper that was a response to a conference on the pandemic’s effect on (live) dance. In July 2020, I participated in an online conference titled danse_lab, produced by Dance Nucleus, curated by Daniel Kok and Shaun Chua and co- curated by Critical Path, Sydney. The conference hosted sixty participants, from six regional clusters across Australia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Philippines and Taiwan, and interrogated the in-visibility/impact of live bodies versus an online performance arena. Discussions centred on identifying the ways of nursing into being a new, vital reality that addresses absences, exclusions and erasures that have appeared in the collective body.
Biography: Dr Rakini Devi Kolkata, Indian born and Sydney based multidisciplinary performance artist, Dr. Rakini Devi ’s work can be described as intercultural hybrid performance art, integrating her knowledge of Indian Classical Dance and her own visual arts practice. Her inquiry into the female body as symbol, using sacred Hindu iconography as protest against misogynist atrocities are illustrated in her performance installations: The Female Pope (Sydney, New York, Sweden), The Widow, The Two Madonnas (Mexico 2014), Kali Madonna and The Black Madonna. Her highly stylized choreographic installations using her own crafted props and visual art have been presented in site- specific venues nationally and internationally. She completed a DCA (Doctor of Creative Arts, UOW) in 2018, presenting her exegesis, Urban Kali, From Sacred Dance to Secular Performance, and her doctoral presentation, Urban Kali, at the Lennox, 2017, produced by FORM dance and supported by UOW.
Dr. Devi’s 2001 Australia Council Dance Fellowship, amongst other awards and subsequent overseas residencies and performances, contributed towards her practice and exploration of new intercultural performance methodologies. In 2018 she completed her DCA (Doctor of Creative Arts), titled Urban Kali: From Sacred Dance to Secular Performance.
In 2019 Rakini traveled to Kolkata, India where she presented Two Madonnas with Violeta Luna at the Tantidhatri Live Art Festival for Women as well as taught workshops at the National School of Drama in Delhi.
She was artist in residence at The Lock Up, Newcastle, where she presented a video and performance installation titled Kolkata Kali, as part of the exhibition Known Unknown, and restaged it for Artbar, Museum of Contemporary Art. She was also a recipient of a Critical Path research residency and a Catapult (Newcastle) dance space residency.
In 2020, she was an Ausdance DAIR recipient for I Used To Be a Dancer (on- going), and a Rex Cramphorn artist in residency (Sept 2020), supported by The Department of Performance studies, Sydney University, and presented a solo exhibition in 2021 titled Inhabiting Erasures, Embodying traces of the feminine.
Online via Zoom. To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.