Monday, 14 March 2016

Baby Dramaturgy: Katy Dye@ Buzzcut

I have been noticing knee socks, bunches, the
smoothness of lips, the brightness of eyes, the blushing of cheeks, the lightness of laughter, the vulnerable tremor in a voice. I have been noticing gingham cotton print dresses, Miley Cyrus’s doll-like demeanour, and models blowing bubble-gum with the nonchalant expression of a six-year-old. I have been noticing myself and how I change when I want to be attractive.

What makes me act smaller than I am? What makes me feel like removing my body hair would be a good idea? What makes me want to change?

Baby Face explores stereotypical images of female infantilisation to unpick and understand their complex effects. I am interested in the paradoxical nature of living in a society that condemns pedophilia, yet where the sexualisation of children and women as childlike is so apparent. I want to understand why people are so uncomfortable to use the word woman, and in turn, feel like a woman.  I want to draw attention to the desire to be cared for and the blurry lines between protection, tenderness, and infantilisation. 

Baby Face explores the challenging reality of being a woman today, when in many ways, women are still expected to look and act like little girls. 

Can you tell me a little bit about the work that you are bringing to Buzzcut?
The piece I am bringing to Buzzcut is called Baby Face and is about the infantilisation of adult women. Due to the way that I look, I have often been treated as though I am younger than I actually am. I knew I wanted to create a performance looking further into the many subtle ways adult women may experience infantilisation – physically, emotionally and sexually, and how this effects how women are seen and how we see ourselves. 

I noticed images of women I saw around me and how their smooth, girlish and even babyish qualities were emphasised in advertising and films, and the disturbing trend for media images of young girls to display a sexual maturity. It occurred to me that we live in an age where paedophilia is explicitly condemned, yet the sexualisation of children and women as childlike is so apparent. This paradox interested me, and I wanted to see where I could go with these ideas in terms of live performance. 

What is it about Buzzcut that attracted you to perform as part of it?
Buzzcut is a festival where brave and innovative work is encouraged, risks are taken and diverse voices can be heard. I have always enjoyed watching work at Buzzcut over the past few years, and it has given me the chance to see performances that have had a real influence on the way I approach making work. 

I wanted to offer my own work back to a festival which I have taken inspiration from, as well as come together with a community of artists who want to offer something different to live performance today. 

Do you see your work within any tradition - and are there any artists (performance and beyond) whom you regard as a peer or an influence?

Baby Face is a performance that very much falls into a live art/theatre genre. There are lots of influences that I feel have been important to me throughout making the work such as Split Britches, Sh!t Theatre, The International Institute of Political Murder, Pip Utton, David Hoyle and Louise Orwin. 

All of these artists have been important to me because I admire work that manages to explore difficult and often dangerous ideas, in a way that is also inviting and playful. Apart from performance artists, rap artists and spoken word artists also interest and inspire me, and artists who use language/storytelling in a way that is raw/uncensored/exploring the multiple voices of one person and their experiences. 

How 'typical' is this work compared to other pieces that you have made? Did the process follow a familiar or new pattern?
Baby Face is not a typical piece of work for me in comparison to other performances I have made recently. Part of the reason why I was interested in making it was to challenge myself and try new ways of making performance.

Previous performances I have made have often been theatrical, or relied more heavily on the delivery of a certain ‘skill’ which captivates the audience, such as intricate choreography or dance. Baby Face is different in that during the process of making it I tried to look further into what stories I have as a person, and how I wanted these to come across to an audience. In doing so, I feel much more emotional and excited about this piece. 

It has challenged me in completely different ways to previous work in that hopefully there will always be a raw and unrehearsed aspect to its performance. 

What are you hoping that the audience will experience?
I hope the audience will experience something that reminds them of their own lives/attitudes towards infantilisation and feminism. Part of what kept interesting me throughout creating the piece was why it is so disturbing to see an adult look and behave like a child – yet why is this also the image of iconic sex symbols such as Kate Moss or Miley Cyrus? I take on my own infantilised image and explore how this looks and feels live on stage. 

Although some of the images that I create could be seen as provocative or shocking, I would not want the audiences experiences to end with that emotion. My aim is to give the audience an experience to invite them to look at their own attitudes/ideas about what is allowed to be sexy and what is not,
and where they would draw the line. 

A large part of the performance is my personal relationship towards the ideas in the piece, and I hope that by seeing this people will be able to re visit personal experiences and feelings about submission, power/control, and if there was ever an instance when they have felt belittled or like they were treated in a childlike way. I also hope that the audience will experience a playfulness amongst the more disturbing aspects of the performance. I had a lot of fun working in the rehearsal room with these ideas, and I hope some of that humour and laughter can come through in the piece. 

What is it about performance that enticed you - and kept you making it?
Performing/making performance is an outlet for me, and a form of expression that I feel is the more satisfying than other art forms. I have always been fascinated with the live, and people exploring and creating their own versions of who they are. We are often surrounded by such manufactured/airbrushed images of what
peoples lives are like, and I feel performance is one of the only mediums in which we can explore different ideas about peoples experiences, and share our reality in a way that is more emotional or complex. 

People often have so many different things they need to be for other people, a family member, a friend, a worker, and people can often feel like they are nameless and faceless. I am interested in what happens in the moment when people get the chance to be the part of themselves they want to be – and I feel live performance is often a most powerful form to actually change who you are/an aspect of who you are and have others witness this.

Katy Dye is a performance artist who is interested in dehumanisation, censorship and freedom of speech. She creates devised performances to invite audiences to re visit difficult aspects of human nature, and think about how we can begin to acknowledge and talk about their effects. In recent performances she has explored ideas of otherness, feminism, performance in places of conflict and how performance can be used as a re-humanising act. Katy has worked with Camden People’s Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Untitled Projects and Z arts Centre in Manchester. She is a recent graduate from the Contemporary Performance Practice course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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