February 1, 2019

Can the abject-grotesque be utilised for empowering collective sensation?

Grace Higgins Brown, 23

Spankomatic acknowledges the absurdity of serial production and mass consumerist experience with a constant cycle of spanking. As the movement of factories and a progressive abundance of object-hood changes our relationship with bodies and the bodily is alluded to, art production is caught up in the spokes, and questions of punishment and ritual are raised with female-identifying bodies offered in a satirically armed alliance of the abject-grotesque and female empowerment. The question of degradation is met with looks of blank boredom, an acceptance of the task that must be completed. It is twisted into the politics of production, and the producers are decidedly female. Through visual referencing of modern dance and performance tropes, these ‘labourised’ women turn the question of female exposure and again to art production, all of which is decisively relevant and important to the contemporary context as we continue to question the involvement of women in both the historical art canon and the workforce. The factory line is thus conjured as demarcation of this particular space; of abject bodily focus and fragmentation, but also of ridiculing our own complicity within it.


Spankomatic 4
13m, 07s
(white socks, water, MDF, pine, steel)


The work explores the potential for discomfort, humour, and disgust in a satirical engagement in socio-political dialogues, particularly in relationship to female empowerment; how ideas and ideals of representing affect the art, viewer and the represented. Utilising humour to navigate inquiry, and engaging in a kind of “visceral empathy” – corporeal, visceral sensation in relation to revulsion, and ridicule, seen as a key universally shared experience – as a way towards useful dialogue.