-By Dylan Slater
(Photo credit: Adam Thomas)
The Money Bin
It’s almost 8pm on the first night of this year’s You Are Here festival and Hissy Fit, an all girl art collective comprised of Jade Muratore, Emily O’Connor, and Nat Randall, are about to take to the stage with their lecture performance She’s Lost Control.
The Money Bin’s bare cement floors are, for the next ten days, furnished with couches, cushions, and crates, occupied tonight by 25 twentysomethings dressed in an even mix of Doc Martens and Chuck Taylors.
Described as an exploration of “head-banging through its dual somatic relationship to the performance of hysteria and the contemporary rock, punk and heavy metal music culture of the MTV generation”, She’s Lost Control seeks to draw parallels between what was once medically diagnosed as ‘hysteria’ and the modern action of head-banging.
The performance begins with a projected video of the artist’s faces against a black background, each of them performing different styles of head-banging. It is here, with only the video, that the trio manage to get their first laugh with a sequence of head-banging done to the solitary sound of drumsticks being hit together.
Following the intro the three young women introduce themselves and talk about their childhood, education, and motivations. Nat shines here, having the audience in laughter despite making well aimed and serious feminist critiques. Jade also makes a lasting impression with tales of her time working in a sex shop photographing “literally hundreds” of dildos. Emily perhaps lacks some of the charisma of the other two, but this hardly detracted from the overall performance.
The serious part of the evening comes with the lecture. The lecture, centred around the history of ‘hysteria’ as an ailment apparently unique to women, asserts that it is in fact a social construct intended to inhibit freedom of expression in women, and to dismiss legitimate emotional response as feminine peculiarity. Hissy Fit conclude that an act of ‘hysteria’ is an act of subversion, that the “visual language of the body out of control,” is powerful feminist expression.
Although a weighty subject, the lecture maintains a healthy momentum throughout and the passion and conviction of the performers ensures that it never feels preachy or patronising.
As the night nears its end we are treated to a demonstration of various headbanging techniques, each performed by one of the artists while another describes its correct execution. Of the many styles ‘AC/D She’, ‘Box Jellyfish’, and ‘Cunt Punch’, are all definite highlights.
Despite the obvious difficulties in combining a serious academic lecture with entertainment and performance (in the form of head-banging), the three artists managed a workable balance that made for a fun, informative, and thought provoking evening.
Born and raised in Canberra, Dylan Slater always had two passions; writing and music. He pursued both throughout his schooling and was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in the Performance Arts for his grades in music, and became a published author in the 2009 Lit Links creative writing anthology. Dylan recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canberra, majoring in Journalism, Creative Writing, and Sociology. Dylan still pursues his passions, regularly contributing to Canberra based music review website Dirtygal.co and playing music whenever and wherever he can. His favourite book is Catch-22 and his favourite album is Disintegration.