Girls command stances of power, framed within seven supersized screens, in this thought-provoking digital, operatic artwork by Joanna Dudley.
Each screen depicts a 19th-century colonial imperialistic portrait but with one noticeable difference. Instead of the lavish depiction of white powerful men, a young girl between the age of 8 to 16 stands in her own regalia and commands her own stance of power. These young girls combined are the leaders, the army, the chorus, the pack, the collective, and the future voice.
Opening on The International Day of the Girl, this work forces us to reflect on the symbolism inherent in 19th century imperialist depictions of men in positions of power, as we see six girls take their place – a choral collective of emergent power, a force to be reckoned with.
In a defiant rebuke of the ghosts of misogynists’ past, this inspiring blend of opera and videography steals from history’s most renowned opera arias for the dying dramatic soprano. The tragic fates of Dido, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Salome, Brünnhilde and Suor Angelica, however, take a decided turn for the better. Rather than being led to their deaths as we have grown to expect, this female army leads you to watch them loudly, conquer.
Joanna Dudley is the war mistress and chieftain. Encouraging the girls to take autonomy over their own voices and to create the world afresh. Notorious patriotic speeches from the world’s male leaders and dictators, proclaiming the declaration of war are also not left unscathed, recast into a feminist war cry echoing through the ages.
WE WILL SLAM YOU WITH OUR WINGS is a show of intergenerational solidarity, strength and power that speaks to the past, the present, and the future.
Live session times
Experience the video and live immersive audio daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. (Session duration: 22 minutes).
Alternatively, you can scan the QR code on nearby plinths and listen to the associated immersive soundscape via your own device and headphones. Every 30 minutes from 11am to 10pm.
(Please note on 11 October you can experience the video and live immersive audio every 30 minutes from 7pm to 10pm)
About the artist
Joanna Dudley (AUS) works internationally creating performance, choreography and installation. She is known for her groundbreaking collaborations with the visual artist William Kentridge and composer Philip Miller for work shown at venues such as Berlin Martin Gropius Bau, the Louisianna Museum, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the TATE Modern’s Turbine Hall, the Park Avenue Armoury New York, the Metropolitan Opera New York and the English National Opera. Other collaborators include Seiji Ozawa, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and Thomas Ostermeier.
Creator and sound composition: Joanna Dudley
Collaborator and projection designer: Catherine Meyburgh
Set and installation design: Rufus Didwiszus
Costume design: Janosch Mallwitz
Sound design and final mix: Adam Howard
Digital colourist: C.A. Van Aswegen
C0-creators and performers: Beatrix Juno Dudley, Tabatha Howard, Kittu Hoyne, Esmé Olive Mcgrath, Ruth Alice McIlleron, Mpho Takane with Joanna Dudley
Original donor and archangel of WE WILL SLAM YOU WITH OUR WINGS: Brenda R. Potter