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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
Meat Joy (Schneemann, Carolee), 1964Fuses (Schneemann, Carolee), 1964Electronic Activation Room (Schneemann, Carolee)

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For artists like Martha Rosler, Ulrike Rosenbach, Valie Export and Joan Jonas,[54] the new medium of video, as yet unfettered by the constraints of tradition, immediately became an important means of exposing the mechanisms by which female identity was constructed and assigned. Sigrid Schade reaches the conclusion that «femininity is not defined in specific idealized images, but possesses the status of being an image, an image however of the absent gaze: a flat-screen projection surface.»[55] Since the early 1960s, Carolee Schneeman had been wholeheartedly and excessively staging the relationship between image production and real bodies. Her kinetic eye-body-theater[56] always moved between the extremes of sensual exploration and feminist critique of reducing women to images: «I was permitted to be an image but not an imagemaker creating her own selfimage.»[57] In particular, the film-action «More Than Meat Joy» (1964) and the film «Fuses» (1967) won her a reputation as a performance artist of sensual ecstasy and the delights of the flesh. That also set her apart from the Fluxus artists, with their more conceptual approach:


«In Fluxus, sexuality was more sublimated than the overtly hedonistic performance practices of Happenings and Pop Art that coexisted, overlapped, and sometimes interlocked with it in the 1960s.»[58] It is no coincidence that she also began taking part in the expanded cinema movement as soon it as was founded by Jonas Mekas and, by using film and electronic elements, consistently carried forward her kinetic theater based on moving objects, lights and sound. She was supported in her endeavors by E.A.T., among others. She received invitations to Germany, for instance to show her «Electronic Activation Room» at the «happening und fluxus» exhibition in 1970. The work of Carolee Schneemann did not translate the necessary and radical critique of images of traditional femininity into desexualized processes, and that lent her performances a very sensual and playful aspect. That being a «projection surface» did not always necessarily imply the status of victim, but could be offensively reinterpreted, became more evident in the 1990s above all through the success of artists like Pipilotti Rist, Sadie Benning or Tracey Emin.[59]

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