GAPA meets … Lissie Carlile, performance artist

In our July newsletter, we introduced you to Lissie Carlile, a young artist from London.

Lissie’s work is committed to exploring how bodies are used within the performance space and the relationship made present between them. More recently, she has explored the performativity of motherhood, in relation with inter-speciesism, in Hush Now, My Darling. Raising questions of de-naturalisation, the performance looks at how both female and animal bodies can be manipulated in order to create a maternal instinct.

We got the chance to ask about what intrigued us most in her work.


GAPA: Thanks for talking to us, Lissie! What would you say is your message?

Lissie: My aim is to try and make people take a moment out from their usual day to day routine. I invite people to think about the quirks in life and how they differ from somebody else on the street. As well as inviting people to think about who they are, I want to remind people to think about how they treat Others. To consider their actions a little more carefully and think about the reaction it will evoke.

GAPA: What kind of reaction do you expect from the audience?

Lissie: I try and not think about the audience’s reaction too much. I guess that some will be interested and completely agree with what I am saying whereas other may think it is pointless or boring. What I do think is important though, is that all those who see the work have an opinion about it, and I believe that they do. Regardless of how somebody identifies themselves, I hope that the ethical considerations present in my work are relatable to all, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, age etc.

GAPA: What drove you to question boundaries between the animal and the human?

Lissie: The interaction between humans and animals has always been something I found fascinating, even as a young child. I remember questioning why certain animals are treated differently to others, and as of yet, I still haven’t found an answer. The concept of ‘life’ intrigues me and how we choose to interact with one another even more so intriguing. So at the moment, I am attempting to find an answer to that potentially unanswerable question; Why do we treat animals the way we do?

GAPA: Do you consider your work to be political?

Lissie: Yes; perhaps not explicitly, but there are definitely political themes in the work. It questions how people act and the decisions they make. It looks at the construct of power and examines how people use and abuse theirs. It dabbles with community and how we treat each other. So, very loosely, yes, I consider my work as political.

GAPA: Could you describe your work in 3 words?

Lissie: Thoughtful; Messy; Intriguing.

GAPA: What is next for you?

Lissie: Over the next year there will be more performances of my current work Hush Now My Darling, as well as more ventures into film and photography independently. I am definitely not finished with exploring the relationship between humans and animals – so expect more of that!

Do you like what you are reading? You can read more about Lissie Carlile on her website. You can also let us know about your views on the GAPA forum and at our next event in London.

London-based postgraduate student in Gender & Sexuality Studies. On the side: playing ukulele, exploring, cinema!

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