Once the grounds for political enactment and nuclear showboating, 'The Kitchen Brick Workshop' I have created somewhat revives the kitchen as a set for gender politics and debate. The tools, making process and interview technique designed, facilitates a creative way to address these important issues and openly discuss their controversies within a trusted environment.
Here, the kitchen exists as a set for ‘construction’ rather than domestic work and cement-making instead of cake-baking. Transforming both labour and labourer ('typically' women) in this space, from ‘invisible’ to ‘visible’ through the making of concrete products.
Using the juxtaposition of ‘valued, masculine, manual’ labour done in the public sphere, with that of the domestic - ‘undervalued, feminine, soft labour' - the workshop creates a space where gendered labour in terms of the stereotypical or normative actions, spaces and products are interrogated.
As is how and where ‘value’ is placed.
FILMING + EDITING
HYPHEN EXHIBITION, OLD TRUMAN BREWERY
From the first instant, the workshop relies on the immediate associations and assumptions made about gendered spaces, labour and behaviour it wants to interrogate.
By highlighting these binaries it forces one to question them and challenge their own presumptions as well as others. Finding the stereotypes used both over-simplified and indeed problematic.
In total, I hosted 8 Kitchen-Brick making workshops and interviewed guests from both genders and spheres. Whilst their professions sat within the context of the project, each individual subverted their essential nature in some way or another, in addition to what is socially or culturally defined as their 'proper' role.
It was this necessary complication - the intersectionality of sexuality, class, culture and the questioning of the interrelationship - that made the discussions had so compelling.