Alice(s) (series, 2009-2011)

Alice is the iconic Victorian child character of Lewis Carroll's world famous Alice's Adventures Underground (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1871), novels. More than that, she represents an enduring image of 'girlhood' that extends beyond a solely British or European reach.  

I began experimenting with improvised play in an 'Alice'-inspired costume as a way to understand her meanings in a public, urban context. I performed these experiments in a variety of English cities and through unsolicited responses I received from people in the street, found that the costume became a kind of short-hand for a typical fairytale-girlhood-femininity. Other frequent comments I received were directed toward infantalising and sexualising my performances; people 'fleshed' out my 'character' and put me into these roles through verbal narrative construction.

These experiments were part of explorative research into the personal politics apparent in the inter-relation between play, gender and public urban space, and led into a new series of performances titled 'Unknowable'. The two videos here were made to illustrate the project overall, and they document one performance that was made in Chester. Generally though my performances for these experiments were not filmed, so as to avoid the public perception that my activity served some other (productive or useful) purpose beyond the simple act of play.