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Five of Swords


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In a year-long process, Clark and five other women developed material for a performance and video project exploring the forces that lead so many women in professional and business classes to bitterness. The words spoken by the performers were appropriated from both “high” and popular cultural sources and linked together in an episodic, juxtapositional manner, rather than in a traditional narrative. The Five of Swords card in the Tarot deck indicates a “protracted struggle,” and the performance combined tableaux, dramatic scenes, and object manipulation (including extended physical play with five swords) to enact and examine the struggle of women advancing within historically male environs. The five performers, ranging in age from nineteen to fifty-nine, were engaged in a process of questioning and the performance was in some sense simply a continuation of that process in the presence of an audience. The video FIVE OF SWORDS is not performance documentation but an adaptation of the material, recorded in a studio setting and re-configured for video.

Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, IL
Cleveland Public Theatre Performance Art Festival, Cleveland, OH
Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee, WI

Big Muddy Film Festival, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
Feedback, CAN TV19, Chicago, IL
Hometown U.S.A., National Federation of Local Cable Programmers, Tampa, FL
In re/deference to Power, Natasha Nicholson Works of Art, Madison, WI
Kansas City International Video Festival, Kansas City, MO
The Circle’s Edge, Winona Art Center, Winona, MN
The Circle’s Edge, Mount Senario College, Ladysmith, WI
Wisconsin Media Alliance Film & Video Exhibition, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Conference, Milwaukee, WI
Wisconsin Media Artists Showcase, Great Lakes Film and Video, Milwaukee, WI
Women’s Caucus for the Arts, Women’s Studies Program,
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
WYOU Cable 4, Madison, WI

High Visibility

Artists Pursue Elusive Power, Wisconsin State Journal
Performance Futures, Art Muscle
Photo, Chicago Reader

Developed with Charlotte Cummings, Jinx Davis, Wendy Nelson, and Lois Nowicki
Performed by Sarah Breckenridge, Charlotte Cummings, Denise Myers, Wendy Nelson,and Lois Nowicki
Technical Support from Cherie Barnes, Dalida Maria Benfield, Beatrice Bosco, Rosemary Bodolay, Linda James, Liz Loring, Diane Merfeld, Susan McElhaney, Patricia Ohanian,
Clark Thompson

Arts Matters, Inc.
Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission
Experimental Television Center
Wisconsin Arts Board
University of Wisconsin

Video, 6 Minutes
Slide Lecture
Exhibition of B&W Photographs and Artifacts



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