“An interactive art piece to surprise, invigorate, challenge and “rebirth” willing participants” – Squishy.
Content: vaginal chat.
It was Thursday afternoon at Kiwiburn 2020, and the tension was high. The first episode of Kiwiburn Art Committee’s (KAC) Art Shark was due to screen live on air, where judges would decide in front of a live audience who would receive a $500 Art Grant for the following year. There was laughter, there were tears, there may have been blood, there was definitely popcorn. If you were there, you will not forget it. If you weren’t there, well… let’s just say you had to be there.
To cut a long, beautiful, story short, Squishy Moon, her audacious accomplice Zee, and their creation, The Octopussy emerged victorious. You may recognise them from previous vagina-based performance art pieces such as the Bloody Virgin, Egyptian Magic and The Chicken Show. Our KAC correspondent chatted to the prodigious pair to uncover the divine secrets of their creation, and how you can help bring Octopussy to life.
So tell me, what is Octopussy?
Squishy: The Octopussy is not just a weird James Bond film. It is going to be a largish scale piece: an octopus head/womb and 8 vulval openings to gain access to the inside or vaginal “vault”.
We hope that not only will it be visually very pleasing and intricate but provide a unique experience of climbing in and out of a vagina/womb again, something most of us have not experienced since the day we were born. Everyone gets a new birthday after they have rebirthed themselves from the Octopussy, offering opportunities for people to transcend and shed what they no longer need and step forward into their freshness. We may even offer guided rebirthing experiences…
I hope the Octopussy will also have a maternal “Sea Mother” vibe, for people seeking maternal comfort or advice.
What inspired this project?
Squishy: I remember coming up with a concept while we were doing the Camp Nipple Camp TV build. A friend was telling me about her discovery of her own hymenal remnants, and that they looked like an octopus or squid when she had looked closer with a mirror.
We felt it would be really special to bring a large piece celebrating vulval genitalia and the diversity among us in a mixed media/textile way. Also octopi are just, like, freakin’ cool and sexy… tentacle porn anyone?
Zee: So I was the friend who discovered my hymenal remnants with a mirror, and in fact they looked like a starfish with four little pink “tentacles” ringed around my opening. After a confused call to Healthline, in which the nurse just said “uhmm… that’s really weird… I don’t know, maybe see your doctor if they get worse?” and a very scary trek through Google Images, I discovered that they were, in fact, perfectly natural “pussy tongues” – little tongues of skin left over from your hymen, that sometimes due to hormonal fluctuations or irritation can swell slightly, taking on a tentacle-like appearance. But I digress.
Also, octopi are possibly my favourite animal (seriously, go look them up. You’ll be amazed). So when Squishy told me about her idea for the Octopussy it seemed like a natural progression, and I knew I wanted to help her “birth” it into reality.
Describe your experience pitching on Art Shark…
Squishy: We were a bit nervous, COZ WE REALLY WANTED TO WIN. But I loved the Art Shark experience (my first) – really good crowd and cool to hear the other exciting ideas being presented.
I’m super proud of Zee for being brave and demonstrating her inner Octopussy skills so everyone could get a real feel for what would be happening. As her birthing partner, I was so happy that it went smoothly, but was ready to assist with extraction of our baby if necessary. Thanks to the judges.
Zee: I knew that our pitch needed a live demonstration, so people could really get behind the idea of the rebirthing potential of the Octopussy. Squishy’s foreign object extraction skills ultimately weren’t needed, the crowd went wild, and there was only a little bit of blood. I can’t believe people gave us $500 for this and honestly it was the highlight of my burn.
How is it going so far? Have there been any challenges bringing this project to life?
Squishy: So far, it has been a bit slow to get things moving, we are now working on completing the base structure so we can get exact dimensions for our textile collaborators. This involves some help from friends with more construction expertise and so is a bit reliant on external factors and managing multiple people’s schedules. However, I think that once we get over the initial hurdle everything will gain momentum. I’m really excited about the project, so just enjoying the process so far.
Zee: Communicating with potential textile collaborators has been a slight challenge, as we’ve had interest from people based all over the country. Some people have been great at keeping communication lines open, but not everybody is as quick to reply through digital mediums. This can make it challenging to know whether everyone who initially expressed interest in collaborating is in a good place to continue. I’m hopeful that this will become easier once the construction of the base structure is underway, and we can provide visuals of the Octopussy and examples of some preliminary vulva creations. We also plan on arranging a build/making weekend which people can attend in person.
Do you need any help from the community?
Squishy: We will be applying for more funding, so anyone who can help with options here (Art’s Committee, *cough cough*). We also need to source old tent poles (structural support for octopus head/dome), large amounts of fabric (possibly Lycra/spandex or polyester interlock, for the base structure “skin”, plush, velvety fabric for the interior), stuffing, clear or tinted transparent PVC or similar.
Zee: We are still taking submissions from serious artist collaborators who can commit to creating a 1.8 m x 1 m textile vulva. We’re also keen to hear from anyone who has experience running conscious rebirthing workshops/meditation, or performing artists offering concepts or support for ritualistic vagina-based performance artwork. Anyone who does cool lighting or projection stuff should get in touch with us also!
Want more Art Shark? KAC are planning for Episode 2 at 2021’s Mythical Picnic, so bring along your creation, competitive nature and possibly nunchucks (who knows?) – you’ve got to be in it to win it!