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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

Reading the Strange Case of Woman-as-Appliance: On Transfigurations, Cyborgs, Domestic Labour, and the Megamachine: August Davis Seminar

August Davis
16:00 - 17:30
9 December 2015
Harvard Suite (Room Number 3032)

Event details

Considering questions of feminism, the home and migrations within (especially women’s) art after the Second World War, this talk examines the figure of the housewife in art of the UK and the US from the 1950s through the 1980s. Exploring conflations of women’s identity with questions of domestic labour, representations of the housewife’s configuration with appliances is of especial importance, leading to this presentation's proposition of the figure of the woman-as-appliance. Such a figure is explored through examination of, in particular, Richard Hamilton’s painting $he (1958 – 1961) and the video project Born to be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads the Strange Case of Baby $M. This paper argues for the woman-as-appliance as the barred subject par excellence, as the megamachine of domestic labour (through an adaptive appropriation from Lewis Mumford), and (by way of McKenzie Wark and Donna Haraway) in her cyborgic transfigurations.

Speaker information

August Davis,Art historian and curator, Dr August Jordan Davis is Acting Programme Leader of MA Contemporary Curation and Director of The Winchester Gallery at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. Her recent curatorial projects include: The Laboratory of Dissent; CHALK; and co-curating Reading Room: Leaves, Threads, Traces, a dialogue of South Asian and European artists' books. August writes on feminist art and theory, and activist art practices, especially in the work of Martha Rosler. She has co-edited a forthcoming special issue of journal Third Text.

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