A Void

womb

A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

Convict Blanket

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Convict blanket is the latest art activism works from concept-based arts practitioner, Alison Little. A sensation to shock and stand against rape, rape culture and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime within our society.

Convict blanket confronts us with the homage style of using material available, in this case, the humble scratch provoking woollen coverings of the bed. The use of blanket stitch and appliqué reminiscent of techniques used in prison protests where all resources must be reclaimed from the sparse provisions available when incarcerated. The blanket is floor-based, slightly raised to one side. The text and images locate with the nearest edge in which they are placed, allowing the viewer to read the statements as their paths encircle the form. The use of hand-embroidered text reminiscent of the marker pen on corrugated card portrayals commonplace throughout activism. Texts vary in scale, case and font in regards to the emphasis placed on the statement which is being presented. Large bold statements often present definitive assertions, small joined-up style wording is often examples of dialogue and opinions of the minority. The black text looks to address how to reduce the numbers of sex attacks by convicting more rapists. In opposition, the red highlights issues within society and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime which are failing at every given opportunity. Although male rape is equally as relevant, this identifies with female rape which is statistically committed in greater numbers.

The first of the black text presents a printed abbreviation, ‘HMP‘. This is commonplace within the UK, ‘Her Majesties Prisons’ being the full term and the title for units of incarceration. The larger appliqué fonts present ‘Convict‘ and ‘Rapist‘, indicating an intention for more sex offenders to be serving custodial sentences. This is emphasized in greater detail by a well-defined corner based statement:

We must press for the conviction of more rapists.’

A powerful sentence, stating the motivation behind the activism, the use of the second person to engage the viewer with the protest.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is common among rape survivors is raised within smaller statements. Dressing down as a result of being raped is proposed, backed up by an image of a ‘Hide under’ hoodie. Larger texts draw attention to statistics:

‘1 in 10 rapes are reported to the Police, of these only 1 in 10 lead to a conviction.’

Due to current changes within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) this figure is currently much lower. The statistic highlights how rape is one of the most under-reported crimes. The statement is reinforced by the pie chart indicating that only 1% of rapes committed lead to a conviction.

Patriarchy is addressed, male supremacy being a factor in why rape is not being tackled effectively. Police apathy over sexual assault cases is presented. Demands towards the recruitment of ‘Strong, capable women,’ are made, requesting women who will prioritise rape over trivia to be brought into the Police Force. Drawing attention to the vulnerability of the rape survivor, showing how there needs should be prioritized. The black statements concluding with the most vital statement of them all, the rapist being ‘100%‘ to blame for rape.

The red text looks to highlight why our society is failing to reduce numbers in terms of sexual assault and punishing more sex offenders through the penal system. The large appliqué terms read ‘Rape Culture’ and ‘Victim Blaming’. Across the blanket, we have statements which highlight examples of victim-blaming, itself a factor within rape culture. Projections of low morals, promiscuous clothing, the rape survivor being presented as ‘The Whore’ and extreme example of ‘Slut-shaming’ are identified. Misconceptions around PTSD are given, many are still not aware that this condition is commonplace with rape survivors. The second delusion of rape being unusual is also stated. Narcotic and alcohol use are presented, suggestions that mild cannabis inhalation could result in hallucinations an example of ignorance. Again, blaming the victim through alcohol consumption, the concept of consenting to sex being overlooked.

Patriarchy being stated, showing the focus of the law to be on protecting men from being falsely accused of rape. How the Police Force is male-dominated, the notion of many of these ‘Men’ having little intentions of acting against rape, in this, recruiting weak, feeble women to actively fail rape survivors. This is developed by drawing attention to the actions of many Police Women, their sole contribution to a rape enquiry to be establishing what happens when they get dressed up, thus providing the opportunity for them to reflect on their superior beauty. The trivial nature of operatives, examples of attire being copied being prioritised as opposed to communicating the nature of the sex attack. This is matched by their counterparts, Policemen, many are only interested in their prowess, continually falsifying reports on how the rape survivor is attracted to themselves. Looking at the attitudes of Police personnel, those who feel that they are not expected to do anything in a rape case, the extremities being the role of the rape victim to protect and shelter vulnerable officers.

Ultimately, the saddest statement of all:

‘It was my fault I was rapped.’

The victims who blame themselves, a factor in why so many crimes are not reported to the authorities.

‘Convict Blanket’, innovative works, at the helm within the spectrum of art activism. Artwork which can challenge misconceptions around rape, concepts which can address issues in society and confront the authorities put in place to act against rape. Ultimately, ‘Convict Blanket’ will lead to the conviction of more rapists, reducing rape crime and proposes a safer society.

Convict Blanket will be exhibited from spring 2020.

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GHB

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Earlier in the week, we saw the conviction of serial rapist Reynhard Sinaga for a string of sex offences against 48 men, it is believed there were many more attacks. He drugged and filmed his victims during the assaults at his Manchester city-centre flat. His date rape drug of choice: GHB, how more than ever, men as well as women need to know the truth about this psychoactive substance.

GHB comes in several forms: a liquid, a powder, a pill or less commonly as a capsule. It is odourless, colourless and when added to a drink may only present a slightly salty taste. GHB is sometimes taken consensually, but equally a rapists drug of choice.

There are many effects caused by taking GHB:

Lowering of inhibitions

Difficulty concentrating or speaking

Loss of balance

Blurred vision

Memory loss

Confusion and disorientation

Paranoia

Nausea

Euphoria

Enhanced libido

Unconsciousness

Comma

Death

Sinaga left many of his victims in an almost comma-like state, the drug can result in death. Although traces of most date rape drugs are often present for up to 72 hours, GHB will have left the system within 12.

Ways to ensure you stay safe on a night out:

Be aware there can be predators present at any time.

GHB testing strips can be purchased

Stick with friends

Watch drinks at all times

Cover your drink with a hand

Don’t accept drinks from strangers

Take drinks with you into toilets

Consider bottled beverages as opposed to a draft choice

Ask the staff for help if you feel dizzy or strange

Plan how you are going to get home in advance

Talk to staff if you have lost friend, money or mobile phone.

Take taxi’s from designated safe areas if present

What to do if you suspect you have been a victim of date rape

Seek medical attention straight away, avoid showering or changing clothes.

Contact NHS

Contact Police (UK)

Greater Manchester Police said anyone who believes they might have been attacked by Sinaga can report information online or call its police line on 0800 092 0410 from inside the UK or 0207 158 0124 from abroad.

Remember

In a sex attack to predator is to blame, it is not the fault of the victim.

The majority of Sinaga’ victims were heterosexual men, he sort greater pleasure through preying on this group.

Fine Art Feast

Fine Art feast

Take two lambs legs from Damien Hirst’ calf, ensuring they are free from Formaldehyde.

Remove the chicken from Sarah Lucas’ chicken knickers, saving the underwear for dessert.

Line the chicken with bacon, courtesy of Francis.

Get ready to wash everything down with coke-a-cola from Andy Warhol’ screen prints.

Tell the Guerrilla Girls to take a seat at Judy Chicago’ Dinner Party.

 

An engagement: at the Museum

An engagement

An engagement: at the Museum

The museum is relatively new, but the building historic and highly thought of in terms of grading by the authorities. It’s gold faced clocks hands speak out to the city as a symbol of ancestral culture. They glisten as a focal point from the hills which surround the port city as the low midday sun melts the last of the frosts. She gingerly negotiates her way up the front steps, she has carefully combined kitten heals with tight fit smarter denim’s. Through the red brick arches, she enters the museum. The café stands bright, larger, but higher placed stained glass windows bring colour to the eatery.

Attending many events here previously: drinks receptions, open lectures, exhibitions and varied tours of the Great Victorian structure. Today was busier than expected, it was the first day of the annual literature festival. It had only been running in its current format for several years, perhaps it had started picking up, becoming a noteworthy literary event. Mental note: check website to see what readings and book signings were on later in the week.

These events were not normally as busy, there was a long queue for one of the books to be purchased. The authors must be particularly popular, she will take a closer look, it may be a nice gift for her mother to add to her Christmas presents. Alternatively, a purchase for herself to read over the holiday season as she indulges of the planned solitude of the festivities. Having been on her own for several years now and not liking going to her Mothers to avoid the rest of the family she had spent the last few Christmases isolated in her own pleasure. No obligation to be joyful, simply indulging in the enjoyment of downtime and the pleasure of her own company. Things had been worse before this, the traditional Christmas ‘Barney’ followed by his continual lack of appreciation of her culinary efforts left her with little desire to cook or celebrate on Christmas day.

‘Good’, he wasn’t here yet, she thought to herself. After ordering a coffee she moved to the quieter side of the café. She fixes her hair and checks her make-up on the subtle reflection of the menu holder. The collar of her blouse needed smoothing out slightly, she had gone for a botanic style print. Combined with a snug fit leather jacket, she was officially smart-casual, off work but nicely attired. They had arranged to meet here as they shared similar interests in the museum. Through the week they both worked in varies building scattered around the vicinity of the red-bricked foundation. She sipped her latte, they could perhaps they could share a bottle of wine over lunch, she thought to herself. Mental note: not to drink too much or to indulge in an extra glass of wine or three.

As he enters she waves subtly, his is flush-faced and freshly showered, looking like he had been out jogging that morning. He is carrying several bags from the toy empire and a sports shop. Slipping the bags down, he pecks her on the cheek and smiles as he compliments her appearance.

 

An Engagement: at the Museum is a flash fiction works from Alison Little. She may develop the prose into a short story or potentially the opening of a novel in 2020.

5 ways to Shop this Christmas

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Last week the all-new Childwall Emporium threw open its doors for the first time.

The Childwall Emporium is the brainchild of woodworker Peter Bennett. The shop is positioned on the busy 5 ways roundabout on Queens Drive. The ground floor houses a variety of craft and printed goods, all reasonably priced. Above this, we have a selection of artist studios and on the top level a skylight venue for art workshops, many of which will be running throughout 2020. Peter had always wanted a shop, this became available, he jumped at the chance. The time really was now and Liverpool has a new retailer selling goods from the cities finest artists and makers.

Peter originally studied a BA(Hons) in 3D design at John Moores University, graduating among the glory of the Capital of Culture year. He has ranges of everything from household goods to hand made jewelry, solid wood pens to surf shack style key fobs. Some of his more specialist works include techniques of embedding leather in solid block wood forms. The leather is re-purposed, reducing waste and he and the majority of the artists are locally based. We have a new business with valid ‘Green Credentials’ taking to the streets of Childwall.

Ink Smudge has a range of journals on sale at the Emporium. The highlight being the miniatures every bit a small as the ones written in by Charlotte Bronte, purchased by the Bronte Parsonage Museum last month. Could this gift provide column space for England’s next great twenty-first-century novelist? Smaller than a matchbox they are intended to hang on the beloved Christmas tree, our Christmas wishes inscribed into the tiny journal. The subsequent year it can be read through to indulge in the desires which literally became true. The woman behind the ‘Burrower’ sized journal confesses to being a stationery addict, her other goods also hand made indulgences intended for thoughts to adorn their pages.

Some much-needed music is added to the Childwall store with the cigar box guitars. The maker behind these instrumental muses, Dave Worthington, brought the guitar boxes back from Taiwan. Intending to become the Switzerland of the Asian continent, Taiwan direction towards environmental sustainability has strengthened over the last decade. It seems very fitting that the maker decided to re-invent these sizable tins into the finest electronic string instruments. The tin casings contain the electronic components and a well-positioned socket to plug in an amp. Cigar box ‘come’ electric guitar genius beaming from the gallery wall.

Much more can be found at Liverpool’s latest hand-made shopping experience. Prints from Alison Little, bags from Le Meme Etoffe and favorite textiles collections from Sandra Hepworth. Look out for courses starting next year: candle-making, furniture painting, the small art of kids craft, followed by woodworking skills from Peter himself. Open till 9 pm on Thursday the 19th of December, don’t miss the last late night shopping before the big day!

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More about Childwall Emporium

Quotes from Catherine MacKinnon

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Catherine MacKinnon, a mother of second-wave feminism, led the US movement alongside greats such as Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem. Primarily, a legal scholar, lecturing at institutions such as Harvard. Specialising in sexual harassment, pornography and prostitution. We take a look at some quotes from her acclaimed 1980’s publication, Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on life and law.

”One of the advantages of male supremacy, along with money and speech and education and respectability, is sexual access to women, of which pornography is one form.”

”Marriage is women’s destiny, she defends and seeks to extend. Now, three out of five marriages end in divorce after about five years, leaving the woman with approximately one child, approximately no income, and a standard of living drastically below that of her former husband.”

”A recent study shows that the only difference between hookers and other women with similar class backgrounds is that prostitutes earn twice as much.”

”We resent being blamed for what men do to us, being told we provoked it when we are raped or sexually harassed, living in constant fear.”

”Men see rape ass intercourse: feminists say much intercourse is rape.”

”Sex blindness”

”The rule said that if Native American women married outside the tribe, the children of that union were not full tribe members: if Native American men married out, there were no such consequences.”

”Neo-Victorian prudery’

”What is not considered to be a hierarchy is women and men – men on top and women on the bottom.”

”Reproductive freedom”

”The problem is, the State has never in fact protected women’s dignity or bodily integrity.’

”Most rapes are intra-racial and committed by men the women know.”

”The purported plot of Deep Throat (Linda Lovelace) is premised upon rearranging the woman by putting a clitoris in her throat, so she gets sexual pleasure out of giving oral sex to men.”

”A critique of pornography is to feminism what defence  is to male supremacy.”


”This is what it means when feminists say that maleness is a form of power and femaleness is a form of powerlessness.”

”Women’s desire to be fucked by men is equal to men’s desire to fuck women.”

 

Quite simply, a great feminist icon here to inspire and move humanity forward.

 

 

Catherine MacKinnon

Feminist Unmodified