Performances > The Art of Love(war) 2007- 2011

The Art of Love(war)

NON Festival, Bergen KJØTT, Norway
29th January 2011

The National Review of Live Art in the UK (NRLA)
The Arches, Glasgow
11th February 2009

Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane
15th January 2009

Exist in 08, International Performance Festival
Brisbane, Australia
23rd October 2008

Off Beat, Michael Mayhew Studio ART,
Manchester, England
21st June 2008

Excursions Performance Festival,
Dagda Space, Limerick
26th January 2008

The Second International Festival
in the Context of Art/The Differences
Mazovia Centre of Art & Culture
Warsaw, Poland
4th-7th October 2007

Special Thanks to
Curators Agnes Nedregard (NON), Nikki Millican (NRLA), Jessica O'Donnell (Dublin City Gallery), Bec Cunningham & Zane Trow (Exist 08), Sheila Deegan & Pippa Little (Excursions)

The Art of Love(war) is a re-writing of the 4th Century BC text "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. I re-imagine the text as "The Art of Love", while retaining the strategies and tactical concepts explored in the original, historical work. The narrative applies the strategies of war to acts of love, plays with the paradox of 'to war with love/making love with war' and asks is all fair in love and war? The intention of this work is to transfigure the impulse of war into a desire to love.

The Art of Love(war) is a performance of the re-written text, relating principles and strategies of war into acts of creation and passion. I explain how to make love not war: and reveal how acts of destruction, bloodshed and plunder can be transformed into affairs of the heart and acts of love. The familiar saying 'All is fair in love and war' illustrates how easy it is to correspond military strategies into those used by lovers and the resulting script is humorous, satirical and profound in a practical way. A film projection accompanies the performance juxtaposing the scrolling text of The Art of Love(war) with modified and abstracted sensual images of human bodies, sometimes together and sometimes alone.

In the final image I carefully unfasten my clothing, which has been made from 'desert storm' military combat gear specially modified with camouflage scraps of bridal lace. This pattern extends up my torso, painted onto the skin in elaborate detail. I sit facing the door with clothes unfastened in an act of reception – the replica of an ancient female gesture or invocation to attract a beloved (derived from Arabic mythology). The revealing of part of the female body is both an act of defiance and disclosure or vulnerability in relation to acts of love and war. It is a language of my body, speaking this theme.

I want to make personal the political themes of war inherent in the text and in the images created for the performance. The pants I wear (and the body paint) are of a camouflage pattern that American soldiers wore into Iraq to begin their occupation and is now worn (in an ironic twist) by the Iraqi soldiers themselves. This is inscribed onto my body in an act of appropriation of political meaning - bringing it into the personal realm of love and desire. I sit, revealing this and awaiting my desire. I re-imagine Yoko Ono's dictum "Make love not war" into "Make war into love"