IMAGE: ‘THE TOUCHING CONTRACT’ SARAH BROWNE & JESSE JONES. 2016
Sarah Browne is an artist based in Ireland. Her research-based practice investigates the materiality of knowledge, attending to the intersection of invisible structures of power with bodily experience. This sculptural practice includes writing, publishing, performance and public projects, encountered both within and outside gallery environments, as well as extensive collaboration.
Sarah Browne is currently working with Jesse Jones on In the Shadow of the State, a major collaborative project co-commissioned by Create and Artangel and supported by ART: 2016, the Arts Council’s programme as part of Ireland 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland. This work addresses the position of the female body as the focus of repressed histories and political desires under the regulation of the nation State. The artists are collaborating with experts in law, medicine, material culture, midwifery and music, as well as with women’s groups through a series of private legal drafting sessions and public performances in historically resonant spaces in Derry, Dublin, Liverpool and London. The most recent of these performances was The Truncheon and the Speculum, a live online broadcast presented by the Liverpool Biennial. This event explored historic state violence enacted through gynaecological means, and proposed a supplanting of the role of the state-sanctioned broadcast into domestic spaces. A transnational audience was invited to this online platform to discuss and challenge the terrestrial illegalities of reproductive rights for women.
The performance in Dublin is titled The Touching Contract, and will be held in the Pillar Rooms of the Rotunda Hospital on September 23rd, 24th and 25th. This immersive performance will explore the qualities of how we encounter the touch of the State every day, with and without consent. Staged in the first lying-in hospital in Ireland and the UK and engaging with the audience directly, The Touching Contract proposes a kind of hypersensitivity to touch, as a way of dramatizing usually unfelt political realities. The performance will feature a newly commissioned soundscape by Alma Kelliher, and a legal score developed by the artists with legal academic and activist Mairead Enright.