Anyone who knows me can attest to me being a dedicated vegetarian, so they might be surprised to find that when offered to attend a night out named An Evening of Meat, I jumped at the chance. However, this event is not your typical steak night. American performance artist Kate March pushes boundaries with her provocative ‘An Evening of Meat’; a unique dining experience exploring femininity, vulnerability and strength. Ahead of the event, I spoke to Kate about her process and influences, and tried to get an insight into what’s to come…
March is the founder and creative director of the all female creative collective I AM. More so than ever, it is crucial that women are represented across all creative platforms. I AM seeks to restore the discrepancy in the gender balance in the art world, ‘I think it’s important to elevate the female perspective in contemporary art. Historically, many female artists and voices have been ignored and I didn’t want to see that happen with my own work. I respect the voices of all gender identities, of course, but my real passion and vision has always been to provide a space dedicated specifically to women to share their narratives, emotions, viewpoints, and creative ingenuity.’
Femininity and the female form plays an important role in March’s work, so where did the drive to explore her subject come from? ‘I find it curious and often times maddening that there are still so many taboos and distorted perceptions of a female body or masculinity or femininity so I guess I will always keep asking the questions until I find answers that satisfy me. I’m influenced mostly by my personal experiences of being a woman and the women in my life – the physicality and the emotionality of womanhood is endlessly inspiring with all its beauty and mess.’
As an artist, March has a plethora of influences, citing performance artists, philosophers and cinema among others, ‘I am constantly bombarding my process with specific visual and text muses: the imaginative and physical theatrics of Pina Bausch; 1920s French cabaret entertainers; female protagonists in modern cinema as well as archetypical characters in movies (female assassins, damsels in distress, evil step mothers etc.); philosophers/writers like Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, bell hooks; the mother of performance art Marina Abravomich; different meals I have around the world; my travel around the world specifically in Asia.’ With such a rich collection of influences, I’m eager to see how they manifest themselves in An Evening of Meat.
While I do not want to find out too much about the night before I attend – I am ready to be surprised – I do know that it will be unlike anything I have seen before. March’s work pushes boundaries simply by expressing herself and challenging her audience to do the same, in order to think in new ways, ‘It’s dangerous when society becomes complacent in how they experience and perceive the world around them. If as an artist I wasn’t creating work that made people think or feel or become curious about something, then I am not being revolutionary and I am not encouraging progress. I think the purpose of choosing to follow a path of art is to encourage progress and attempt to provide moments where an audience can feel present. It’s never my overt intention to push boundaries or provoke. It is my intention to express myself and provide a space for others to also consider new ways of expressing, thinking, seeing, acting, sensing, and doing. Sometimes all those things happen and that experience in itself happens to be “provocative”.’
An Evening of Meat is sure to be unique to anything you, or I, have every experienced before. A menu prepared by Michelin trained chef Chavdar Todorov, (with vegetarian and vegan options available), costumes by designer Lisa Von Tang and an original score by composer Patrick Rivera, and dancing at their underground club afterwards, this is a show not to miss. Are you intrigued? If so, don’t wait for my review: book your tickets now and get ready to sink your teeth into something new.
(A review of the event will be published early next month.)
An Evening of Meat
When: 27th March to 22nd April on Tuesdays to Sundays from 6.30pm
Where: The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN