(Dis)identifying female archetypes in live art

Simic Anderson, Magdalena (2007) (Dis)identifying female archetypes in live art. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

[thumbnail of 2016SimicPhD]
PDF (2016SimicPhD)
2016SimicPhD.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (1MB)


My thesis considers a feminist arts practice as a form of political agency. My research is practice-led. It consists of three performances/live art events (Medea/Mothers’ Clothes, Magdalena Makeup and Joan Trial), its documentation on three sets of DVDs and a written dissertation. Female archetypes, which have tended to be associated with the canonical, underpin my research investigations. Through my arts practice I intervene in three archetypal images of women that are representative of the patriarchal canon: Medea (the anti-mother), Mary Magdalene (the penitent whore) and Joan of Arc (virgin martyr). I juxtapose their ‘universality’ with the experiential, the local and the contemporary. I draw on the authoritative personal voice of the lived anxiety of the experience of motherhood (Medea), name identification (Mary Magdalene), spirituality/heroism (Joan of Arc) and the sense of ‘being foreign’, seen as ‘Other’. Working from my subject figuration of a ‘Foreigner’ (Croatian, living in Britain), my local community and experience of my daily life as a mother and artist-researcher in Liverpool, I (dis)identify with socio-culturally prescribed forms of the feminine, as conventionally represented by these archetypes. The production of my arts practice is understood as my political commitment to the world, a part of and an intervention into my everyday living. This thesis is situated and contextualized within the field of contemporary British Live Art practices, feminist solo performance and transnational arts practices. For the purposes of facilitating my agency as an artist, throughout the thesis I use postcolonial and transnational feminist studies as well as feminist discourses on the ‘politics of location’ and ‘lived experience’, particularly the work of Sara Ahmed, Atvar Brah, Teresa de Lauretis, Inderpal Grewal, Caren Kaplan, Doreen Massey, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Elspeth Probyn, Gayatri Spivak and Iris Marion Young.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Mar 2016 09:54
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:17