Using gestures, words, phrases and objects I was surrounded by, and grew up listening to in the 1970s and '80s, I am exploring how emotions and the English language are fluid. The Homographs, 2023, is a series of self-portraits exploring themes such as shame, restraint, emotion and mysogony. When certain words are associated with women, etymology and its changing cultural meanings raise questions. Currently a practice-based PhD student, I am researching how memory and affect theory contribute to confessional art. I am exploring how we determine what the self is in today’s society.
/ˈhɒməɡrɑːf,ˈhəʊməɡrɑːf/ noun: homograph; plural noun: homographs
each of two or more words spelled the same but not necessarily pronounced the same and having different meanings and origins.
Etymology is an indication of the times in which we live and, in this project, serves as a marker for how the perception of women has changed over the years. When certain words in the English language are associated with women, the meanings are construed depending on the era in which the word is being defined and, in this series, raises questions about how women have been perceived as derisory in the name of humour.
Eve Sedgwick in Touching Feeling, 2002 discusses Performative Utterances,
Language doesn’t just describe the world; it also creates the world and our identities. Judith Butler applied performative utterances to gender, arguing that gender itself was performed, constructed and affected. The way a woman behaves, and who’s behaviour is described, the language that is used creates who we are, creates our identities. Utterances affect language, codes and norms, they have the affect of constructing subjects in one way. The Homographs, are in this vein, a collection of female codes of construct I have grown up with.