Testero Utero Go! Litter Womb – Natasha Bourke

Land Sea

Solid Mutable

Day Night

Held Free

Organic Synthetic

Masculine Feminine

Ballsack Womb

Destruction Nurture

Detached Union

O2 CO2

Abundance Lack

Bellow Whisper

In Out

Flourish Stagnate

Birth Death

Empathy Apathy

Push Pull

Ying Yang

Known Other

Testero Utero Go! Litter Womb is part of early research for a future larger-scale interdisciplinary work, with initial development support from Cork City Council Arts Office, Arts Council of Ireland and the Firkin Crane ReFramed Bursary. In September, Bourke performed the first iteration of T.U.G! Litter Womb within the context of a derelict sea bath on Sandymount Strand for Biosphere performance event by Kirkos Ensemble, a weeklong event of outdoor experimental performance encounters, at various locations around Dublin, to explore natural & built environments as we confront the climate crisis. This experience served as a valuable part of research and development moving forward with this work. In this piece, the artist performs as a ‘separate being’ inside of a 2-metre Zorb ball being inflated. Once inflated, She begins to traverse the space, with navigational aid via walkie-talkie communication with some one outside. The large travelling ball is followed by a linked pair of 1.5 metre Zorb balls filled with shredded up single-use soft plastics (collected over the past 2 years). These 2 balls are pulled by a separate figure (can also be attached to the large Zorb, if necessary). Bourke eventually transforms into the guise of performance alter ego Coneface and continues on, blindly navigating from day to night, between land and water mass. She employs different light sources and objects to alter the visual and sound scape. Throughout, she performs intermittent movement and Tai Chi Qi Gong exercises. A poetic wink on finding breath in a polarised suffocating self-created shit storm.
T.U.G! Litter Womb visually summarises the safety and isolation experienced, particularly in these times, as we increasingly exist in bubbles. Traversing Cork’s urban landscape and river, the performer’s presence is protected but contained, taking measures to adapt to the ever-shifting terrain. The surreal, spectral and vulnerable work echoes the polarity and dichotomies that we grapple with, underpinning our understanding of the world. I am mindful of the ancient waterways of Cork, linking a site to an earlier state (as indicated in the title) and its inherency to the psychogeography of that place. I am interested in anatomical/environmental ‘containment’ of water and its role vibrating through a body/land scape, contrasting the solid and the mutable. The single-use plastics within the balls interweave ironic ecological commentary on finding breath in self-created unstable, suffocating and distanced times, on a microcosmic-level.

This piece is part of early research for a future large-scale interdisciplinary work by the artist, with initial development support from the Cork City Council Arts Office, Arts Council of Ireland and the Firkin Crane ReFramed Bursary.

( Watch video here )

“Since my solo show Rubblebubble last year, I have had an outdoor public intervention performance idea that is akin to the thematic tone of biosphere so this is a great opportunity to unveil it.”

Natasha Bourke is a Cork-based interdisciplinary artist of Irish/Dutch descent with a surreal, absurd and spectral aesthetic contemplating themes such as transience, identity, isolation, institution, legacy, perception, polarity, pathos and play. Bourke has an extensive movement background and her practice embraces performance, lens-based media, installation, archive, drawing and sound. The artist has received several awards, and has presented work and collaborated in numerous live/filmic events and sites across Ireland and Europe since 2007.

 Since 2014, Bourke has developed a substantial body of works featuring Coneface, a performance alter ego and is completing an experimental feature-length film, Concrete Keys, with Coneface as central figure.