Alex Billingham

Fishwives Revenge | Tate St Ives

Fishwives Revenge

Fluid bodies
Borderlines blur around overlapping shores
My connection to the sea is vital to the work I make
The sea reduces / increases the individual keeping them within / without context
I find a place where my trans and crip bodies intertwine and mingle
The days performances reflect my experiences of existing with a fluid body, as my normal shifts from
second-to-second depending on a thousand micro factors. Every little defect gets respect. Neon mobility
aids mobilise trans fem bras.
My response to the brief was instantaneous and joyful. It’s been 2000 years since Caligula declared war
on the sea....... It’s time for a Rematch!
Dada Crip joy at its foolishly finest.
Disruptively fun following in the finest traditions of Dada. I wanted my disability to sit beside me with the
work, ever present but never who I am. Tate St Ives have been amazingly responsive to making my
childishly silly idea of battling the sea a reality. I knew the work had to be near the coast as being from
the landlocked West Midlands, the Ocean is my spirt animal.
From such stupid acorns mighty narratives are hung. Instantly the tides of the sea mingled with my own
fluid crip existence and began to influence the work. I morphed the ideas to fit the tidal nature of the
gallery. Meeting the high tide with a high-power performance on the beach then retreating with the low
tide to the shelter of the gallery before returning once more to the sea.
The first interaction is all about challenging the sea in that overly masculine way of looking for
confrontation and dominance.
The time in the gallery allows me to simply exist within the collections as a disabled performer in
the space, allowing for gentle conversations and interactions. Sewing the stolen treasures of the
beach into my outfit. Possibly being overlooked or viewed as just another relic on display.
Then returning the stolen artifacts to the sea and apologising for my actions. Making sacrifices
and performing a love song to the sea in the best traditions of cheesy Hollywood films.
I work as an artist in Live art with experimental theatre and film. My body doesn’t define who I am, but it
does inform a lot of how I interact with materials and resources. I must allow recovery time for
performances as I know each action carries a cost to me. Being trans and crip informs who I am and
what I can achieve. My abilities altering even within each day.
Am I feeling confident enough to wear a bra today and withstand the abuse I’ll get? When I get
deliberately barged into, is it because I’m Queer / Trans / Crip?
Correct answer - none of the above.
One of these might be the excuse the individual uses but the reality it’s their problem not mine. I could
live my life hoping not to get abuse or I could be my glorious self and not allow them to define how I live
my life.
Be your glorious self!
Social media links –
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