Performance Art and Feminism: Bodies of Care and Patience

Proceedings of The 4th Global Conference on Women’s Studies

Year: 2022



Performance Art and Feminism: Bodies of Care and Patience

Antoniadou Alexandra



This paper will examine the concepts of “care” and “patience” under capitalism and in relation to social reproduction theory using performative works of art. The idea that reproduction is not about creating life but instead the creation of new workers has preoccupied a new wave of feminist theorists and activists who often draw on the theories of the 1970s and wish to explore women’s place and labour in and outside the sphere of production. Although working class women carry the burden of the extra physical and emotional labour that has been generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, social reproduction theorists and statistical analysis have shown that women have been performing a disproportionate amount of unpaid care and housework long before the pandemic. According to feminist theorist Silvia Federici it is capitalism that naturalises women’s subjugation since capital normalises women’s labour as care and housework that does not need to be recognised either economically or socially.[1] Through the analysis of the performative artworks Reproduction (2015) and Domestic Performance (2019) by Fotini Kalle and Patience (2012) by Angeliki Avgitidou, the employment of critical feminist theories based on the writings of Silvia Federici, Tithi Bhattacharya and Susan Ferguson and the theorisation of “patience” by Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou this paper aims to deepen our understanding of everyday life in neoliberal capitalism by exploring women’s economic and sexist exploitation.

keywords: social reproduction, capitalism, women’s exploitation, housework, activism