Sinéad O’Donnell: Aesthetic encounters, the maternal/performative/laughing body and a matrixial response-ability to the other.

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My first encounter with this work was a recent Lecture by Sinéad O’Donnell at the Fine Art Artists Lecture Series at the Belfast School of Art. Crossing Permissions is a body of work made by O’Donnell across a year of residencies in Tokyo (January - March 2018), Montevideo (June 2018), Buenos Aires (July 2018), Brazil (August 2018), back to Tokyo (September 2018), Thailand (October 2018) and Indonesia (November 2018). As the lecture unfolded a reading of the work began to emerge with theorisations of feminine sexual difference as something represented beyond the phallic structuring of meaning and language, a thinking through the maternal as a co-existing with(in) another being as embodied radical and ethically knowledge, and my own personal experiences of pregnancy and co-existing with(in), birthing and traumatic loss. This was a very visceral, powerful and traumatizing aesthetic encounter with the physical and bodily gestures of a naked body, a defiant and powerful body, a menstruating body, a pregnant body, a hemorrhaging body, an interconnecting, permeable and leaky body all invoked in the performance documentation. There is a critical dialogue and a seepage between the material and bodily realness of the work and the theoretical and political discourses it is investigating and interrogating. Unequivocally concurrent through all the performance art works is an endeavour and commitment to create a space to open new current landscapes of femininity to challenge controlling and regulating systems of the female body, and to speak from an intersubjective, ethical and responsible space of being, being together and connectedness. It is from these seeds of aesthetic and theoretical encounters along a matrixial theorization and maternal bodily corporeality planted on that day from which some of these considerations have been grown.
Original languageEnglish
TypeCatalogue Essay
Media of outputBook
PublisherMillennium Court Arts Centre
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-0-9928266-3-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9928266-3-5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2019


  • Sinead O'Donnell
  • Matrixial
  • Performance Art + Northern Ireland
  • feminist performance
  • feminist theory


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