Now, I find myself with questions. I appreciate performances that ask questions of the audience and use sometimes debatable ethics to make us think harder– I appreciate Hayes’s use of signage as an act of reperformance and solidarity, but where is the line crossed from art to cultural appropriation?
I think of this especially now in the face of the current scope of what some call ‘identity politics,’ where legislative initiatives aim to determine in language what makes someone a person, a man.
I was not a man when I started this performance. I am not a man right now. Was I a man when I utilized my right to vote? Am I still a man if a queer person like me is not included on the US census? Am I still a man if I have no gender at all? I am not a man today.
1Sharon Hayes, In The New Future, 2009.