Locker Room

 

Brian de Palma’s Carrie opens with a nightmare. After a humiliating gym class, Carrie retires with the girls to the locker room. Her classmates are filmed in a dreamy haze — brushing silken hair, slipping perfect bodies out of and into their clothes. Carrie is taking a shower; water courses over her white skin. The camera is so close, her hands reach between her thighs and water streams between her legs. The scene is sexual. She starts to bleed and freaks out because she has no idea what a period is. Naked, wet and bloody she flees the shower and runs into the pack of teenage amazons. These beautiful monsters tease her by waving tampons in her face, they call her names and push her back into the shower — she cowers in the corner, still wet and naked, as they throw sanitary napkins at her. Blood is everywhere in Carrie. The whole film circles back to this moment — Carrie, bleeding; a pack of girls, laughing at her. By the movie’s end, she will be covered in blood and set her world on fire. Sex and horror; sex as horror. Her mother’s prophetic warning loops and warbles over the soundtrack: “They’re all going to laugh at you!” And they do — the whole crowd, gathered in the space where the film began — in a high school gymnasium — laughs at Carrie, as she stands there — humiliated, shamed again in her naiveté.

 

This locker room is a social space of a certain kind of privacy; it is where we learn that the private is always already public.This locker room is coercive: the locker room of our nightmares is not that of the spa, it is that of the school. This locker room is the space of sexism’s subconscious — this is one reason why it figures so often, and so prominently in film. It is where we imagine our private self is exposed. It is where our bodies are forced into the most primitive disciplining structures.

That “you can see there was blood coming out her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” did not disqualify Trump — in either the media or the public’s eye — is a neat reminder of how deeply disgust with women’s bodies is integrated into everything that feels normal. Thus the exchange between Trump and Bush: they are sharing the fear of/disgust with women’s bodies as a kind of sex talk. This is how sexists shake hands.

You can hear the violence of this locker room in the phone messages that Richie Incognito left for his teammate Jonathan Martin — he promised to shit in his mouth, slap his “real mother” across the face and more. The player who complained is mocked for not being a man. This sexualized violence frames the locker room at Penn State — the place where Sandusky took boys to shower. In this not-quite private place sexual assaults were witnessed by athletic department employees. None of these men knew, really, how to talk about what they saw.

This locker room is a real and an imaginary space. It is an overdetermined space in American culture because we have absorbed sports and its changing rooms into the nation’s architecture. This locker room is a threshold space, a space of transformation. It is where our bodies are absorbed into the grid, as either sexual subject or sexual object. As human or as thing. We all pass through this space — much as we pass through women’s bodies — and emerge into the world as one thing or the other.

Qualifier: Brenda Martinez leans in

US Olympic Track and Field trials, final for the women’s 1,500 meters. Just watch.

Serena

serena_wimbledon_fist_rtr_img

Five Drills, Brad Killam and Zachary Cahill

Julia Lazarus: The Brittleness of the Player’s Body

Die Brüchigkeit der Spielerinnenkörper from julia lazarus on Vimeo.

Theseus Beefcake (teaser)

Theseus Beefcake – Teaser 1 from PanicLab on Vimeo.

I cannot get enough of grappling-based performance!

Hazel Meyer’s Muscle Panic

Muscle Panic (1 min) from Hazel Meyer on Vimeo.

“Performed on Thursday August 27th, at Scrap Metal Gallery in Toronto Ontario, with Cait McKinney, Lena Suksi, Anthea Black, Aisha Sasha John and Hazel Meyer. Original performance runs 32 minutes.”

A genre: installation-based work repurposing sports artifacts — often inviting movement, forms of play within the gallery. I’m partial to feminist/gendery versions like the above.

 

“I Don’t Think We’ve Seen That”

Ballgirl

From the days when the rape-y-ness of the football imagination had a certain innocence to it.

Art+Sport: On the Sonic and Material Properties of Bounce

This Sunday (Nov 8), Machine Project and Cabinet magazine team up to present two new episodes in the life of bounce from artist (and former professional squash player) Carlin Wing. Episodes in the Life of Bounce is hosted by Sabrina Chou’s experimental sporting exhibition, HR.

From 1pm to 4pm, artist Carlin Wing, assisted by Luke Fischbeck, will present Live Ball Orchestra, a workshop about the sonic and musical properties of bounce. Participants will use balls of all types to sound out the architectural space of Sabrina Chou’s exhibition at HRLA. (One can play tennis with the gallery — bouncing the ball of the wall and objects in the space.) Participants will explore the aural characteristics of bouncing objects, test the range of acoustic relationships between ball and surface, and experiment with building tonal and rhythmic arrangements. Some bounce audio will be recorded. Balls will be provided but participants are also encouraged to BYOBall.

Following the workshop at 5pm, the event moves to the bleachers for Episodes in the Life of Bounce, an illustrated talk by Carlin about rubber as the foundational material of modern sport. All cultures play games with balls, but the rubber ball has a special history. In their time, the Aztec and the Maya built entire cosmologies around rubber bounce, while in recent centuries sport-crazed Europeans and North Americans have tirelessly experimented with rubber’s uncanny properties in pursuit of “true bounce.”

%d bloggers like this: