Circumcision (2008)

I sat cross legged in front of the camera with my left arm painted black to midway between my elbow and shoulder. After a moment I began to bite and gnaw at my arm in an attempt to remove the paint. The performance ends when I can’t reach any more of the paint with my mouth.

The performance piece, Circumcision, explores notions of catharsis and the possibility of its attainment. Through the work I engage with theories relating to catharsis, particularly psychoanalysis and Judaeo-Christian theology, borrowing their language and formal structure to articulate my concerns. The performance is simultaneously an articulation of my desire or need for transformative healing and an attempt to achieve a cathartic experience. In Circumcision these desires are converted into ritualised actions, mirroring the processes of sublimation and fetishisation of the body. Painting my arm signifies the physicalisation of a psychical wound in an attempt to remove it.