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SUPERsize Me

SUPERsize Me

performance at Gnarlfest November 2014


SUPERsize, an audience participatory performance at Gnarlfest 2015, where the artist is the object for interaction. This is the first of three tests of the Superhero Manifesto.

SUPERsize was created to establish and test the boundaries and qualities of an archetypal superhero. Prior to the performance, a Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign (1) was set up to elicit suggestions from the public to establish the primary qualities needed to be a superhero. These qualities would then be tested through a strict process of elimination, testing through ‘body over mind’, brawn over brain, to establish which tenet of superdom are true or false.

Utilising the tendrils protruding directly from the abject superhero, as each proclamation is read a selected audience member is invited to attempt to inflate the super ego via impressively inflating muscles. If inflation is achieved the tenet will be kept, if the muscles fail to inflate or overinflate to bursting point then the tenet is declared to be false and is discarded. The process continued until all suggested attributes were tested.

SUPERsize references works where artist is presented as passive object, to be acted upon by the audience such as Marina Abramovic ‘Rhythm O’, Yoko Ono ‘Cut Piece’ and VALIE EXPORT ‘Tapp und Tastkino’. The difference here is that the audience actions are mediated through an activational extension from the body through and integral to the superhero costume, as hand inflation device rather than through direct physical contact with the bare fleshed artist/object. SUPERsize creates a grotesque body in flux, both impressive and repellent, boardering on dangerous to both audience and artist as boundaries and materials are tested to the limit and beyond. ‘woman’s body can change shape in pregnancy and childbearing, it is therefore capable of defeating the notion of fixed bodily form,, of visible recognizable, clear and distinct shapes as that which marks the contour of body. She is morphologically dubious’ (Braidotti,1994 p. 64).

Braidotti, Rosi 1994. Mothers, Monsters and Machines in Writing on the Body. Columbia University Press.

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