Healing Bodies

Jessica Burkle – Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Collaborator: Sky Christoph – Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

“Healing Bodies” is a piece that combines experimental dance practices with endurance performance art, coupled with a garment, to explore the intersection of beauty and pain and the trauma of living with it. Each day of the performance, the garment will be destroyed and broken out of, and then repaired. I look to explore the ownership of one’s beauty and the ways in which I can take control of the ways in which I create vulnerability on the body through performance and clothing.

This project is interdisciplinary by combining textile, sculpture, dance, performance art, and video. By combining all these practices, I’m able to understand and push my body physically further, and therefore my concept further. All these processes also allow for there to be a variable of unpredictability that makes me give up some control of the presentation of my body and the outcome of the project, which again adds to my concept. For example, with the garment, I have control over its construction and how I want to be viewed within it, but, once it begins to tear and rip, I begin have a lack of control over my body and how it is viewed.

I think this piece is incredibly impactful for the university community due to its themes surrounding ownership of one’s body. In the wake of thousands of people stepping forward to share their stories of sexual abuse against Robert Anderson, and against many others on this campus, this piece resonates with the times. It calls into question the ownership of one’s body in the face of power, and what we do as a third party to these moments. This piece would hopefully give the space for many students to consider their position within these experiences and for some, to resonate with the piece’s messages of ownership of one’s body.