Gender Ritual

Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:18 Written by Melissa Potter
This work, expressed through a wide range of media including ethnographic video, animation, handmade paper, drawing, sculpture and painting, is an ongoing dialog about the organization of society through gender codes, rituals, and discrimination.
Gender ritual is explored in two documentary animations shot on location in Serbia and Montenegro. In "Ammunition for the Virgin," an interview with the reported last surviving member of the SE Balkan ritual in which a girl is brought up (by choice or force) as a boy in a household with no male heirs, poses challenging questions about women and choice in today's society. In the summer of 2009 I traveled with a team of ethnographers and filmmakers to Stana Cerovic’s home village of Tusina, Montenegro to interview her. We videotaped an interview with Stana and her sister asking questions about the advantages of life as a man, and even whether it was possible to be happy without children. At the end of our days with her, we went to her family’s graveyard, where she told us stories of her family, and where she will be buried, as a man. The project focuses on questions of female identity in the Balkans and its relationship to young women in the region through additional interviews.
A sculpture and video work, "Pimp My Ride" investigates the commodification of motherhood, both from a sexual and racial perspective. "Maybe Mom," is a series of paintings on paper named after a saliva ovulation test system (a cylindrical, interior-lit unit translates the hormone levels in saliva into delicate, fern-like patterns), and records the results of the ovulation cycle in 28 days of paintings. Both of these works look at the biological roles of women in relation to economic exploitation, consumerism, and youth obsession.
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