Valie Export created and constructed her own identity through a cigarette packet. This is due to her previous name and it’s ties to her life. The surname is patriarchal in a sense that you take away a part of you identity. This can be done willingly, such as in marriage, or given to you, such as at birth.
Export believed that the women’s social identity was created by men, so women should cause [good] trouble to change this, especially if you are a woman and if you are gay. Each of the performances that she carries out involves her body, often highlighting the fact that she is a woman, and these are the parts that she has.
She often reverses voyeurism and the male gaze through her work, as you have to look in the eye. This is especially seen in Tap and Touch Cinema and Action Pants, Genital Panic (1969). Both of these are very forward in their presentation, and you have to look Export in the eye when she performs these. The experience of these often seems uncomfortable, and unnatural, as it is not particularly normal to touch a woman’s breasts, while looking her in the eye in the middle of the street.
I want to bring this same sense of returning the male gaze and bringing something unexpected to my performances and videos.
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