Nether Space(s) - Visiting Artist Residency at the Gibbes Museum of Art 2023
Nether Space(s), created by internationally acclaimed artist Kate March, is a movement and visual arts experience channeling six women's endometriosis pain experiences. The interdisciplinary concept represents the culmination of her doctoral research which explores female pain stories in and through an embodied crip performance practice. By repurposing pain as artistic material and creative wisdom, Nether Space(s) invites alternative and imaginative conceptions of time, space, energy, and expression for the realms of disability, pain, and/or chronic disease. Nether Space(s) features her transformative embodied poetry, choreography, and kinetic paintings into a cohesive work with a powerful music score developed by Marcus Amaker.The multilayered artwork haunts and challenges the audience to discover presence, connection, empathy, compassion, and resilience amidst pain's chaotic interruptions. In addition to the artistic components, there is a facilitated post-performance opportunity to speak with the artist around related issues of women's health and gendered disabilities. Nether Space(s) premiered at the Gibbes Museum of Art on August 19, 2023.
Although Nether Spaces exposes the often concealed or invisible suffering related to gendered disabilities like endometriosis, the negotiations with time, space, energy, and expression likely resonate with individuals who endure various kinds of menstrual, reproductive, or disabling chronic pain. Nether Space(s) encapsulates the ways in which endo-centric research’s distinctive art-making process and artistic outcomes emerge as intersectional sites containing Feminist, Queer, and Crip aesthetics and ethics. The evolution of Nether Spaces demonstrates that engaging with the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual scars of such unfathomable pain experiences may implicitly necessitate the integration of particular methodologies and the embodiment of ethical perspectives. Relatedly, Nether Space(s) reveals that a performance practice shaped and birthed from lived body endometriosis experiences can generate provocative, empowering, interesting, and innovative art. The nuances of Nether Spaces: multidisciplinarity; alternative rhythms; repetition; specific physical vocabularies or spatial trajectories (falling, bracing, stooping, slumping, foetal and other non-vertical orientations); and the blend of verbal and non-verbal expression, are unpacked as such. Indeed, holding endometriosis and female pain at the centre of a performance practice translates into a deep alignment with concepts such as crip time, interruption, resilience, radical empathy, compassion, adaptability and presence.