Lisa Birke

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Lisa Birke, Calendar Girls, 4:00, HDV, 2014

Twelve Calendar Girls,exemplifying different character types, enter landscapes representing the months of the year. Initially, all of the Girls stand motionless facing the viewer for an uncomfortable length of time until a conductor’s baton is heard taping, counting in the orchestration. A cacophony of musicalstyles play simultaneously and all the girls begin their individual dances — ballet, vogue, hip hop, Bavarian slap dancing, ballroom, etc.. The Girls are humourously impeded in their performances by their inability to see their “stage”. Each “Month” wears a different form of head – covering — lampshade, cooking pot, nylon stocking, flower pot, pylon,etc. Regardless, the show must go on. The work is a humorous exploration of the societal expectations of woman as aesthetic symbol and spectacle who is intrinsically at home in nature.
With no other cue other than dress, the viewer has the expectation that there will be a
performance when the women appear. There is an uncomfortable silence when nothing
happens. The women stand facing the viewer and despite the inability to make eye contact a contract has been undeniably made. The women will perform — or will they? There is
another complication when one realizes that there are not twelve women but rather just one. There is no choice for the viewer to pick their type or favourite. When the performance does happen, it is confused and ridiculous because the disparate dances are all happening at once. The viewer is not given the opportunity to see any one of the performances but is confronted instead with a deafening failure — on many comic levels.
Courtesy of the Artist
Cold Cuts Video Festival 2016