Liverpool Biennial 2016:
Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones: The Truncheon and the Speculum
This live internet broadcast explores historic state violence enacted through gynaecological means. Featuring material culture historian Dr. Lisa Godson and self-identified “cyborg witch” Klau Kinky of Catalan collective Gynepunk, this event identifies the Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860s as a key moment in the legislation of state violence against women in Ireland and the UK. With this event, the artists and their guests propose a supplanting of the role of the state-sanctioned broadcast into domestic spaces. A transnational audience is invited to this online platform to discuss and challenge the terrestrial illegalities of reproductive rights for women.
The Truncheon and the Speculum is part of In the Shadow of the State, a co-commission of Artangel and Create; also supported by ART: 2016, the Arts Council’s programme as part of Ireland 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland, Dublin City Council and for Liverpool: Heart of Glass (St. Helen’s).
Dr Lisa Godson
Dr. Lisa Godson holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin (MA) and the Royal College of Art (MA, PhD) and is lecturer in History of Design and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Recent publications include Making 1916: Material and Visual Culture of the Easter Rising (co-editor, Liverpool University Press, 2015); Design Learning in an Age of Austerity (co-editor, 2015); The Secret Lives of Objects (editor, 2016); the forthcoming Modernism and Sacred Architecture (co-editor, 2017) and her monograph “How the Crowd Felt”: Religion, Ritual and Material Culture in the Irish Free State (2017).’Charting The Material Culture of the ‘Devotional Revolution’: the Advertising Register of the Irish Catholic Directory 1837-96′ (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 116C). She was college tutor in Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art for Design Interactions, Design Products and Industrial Design where she was also Learning and Teaching Fellow, and the NCAD Fellow at the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, Dublin.
Godson often works with creative practitioners – her research into modernist architects in Africa formed the basis of the award-winning documentary Build Something Modern and she is research collaborator on the Arts Council/Create/Artangel project In the Shadow of the State with artists Jesse Jones and Sarah Browne. Current research includes being Principal Investigator of the Irish Research Council-funded Making Memory: the Material and Visual Culture of Commemoration in Ireland since 1800 and a project on gender and the design of medical instruments.
GynePunk is a Catalan collective interested in hacktivism, and also interested in exploring low cost means of gynaecology and other diagnostics for different groups of women – be it migrants, sex workers or those on low incomes.