My Fathers

My Fathers, 2014, is a queer theatrical installation based on sex and gender in the medieval scripture of the Cathar heretics and early recordings by the pop star Prince. 

 

Speaking mostly through the jargon of scripture, 'the brothers' in this community talk of their temporal life on earth and how they aim to withdraw from the genesis and generation of the material world.

 

A series of hand-crafted garments populate the installation, which were created by the non-gendered protagonist of the work, Zol and their adopted brothers. Diverse textile production processes such as felting, knotting and knitting were undertaken as a way for the group to narrate their understanding of their struggle for autonomy and bodily pleasure in ascetic practice.

 

The pop musician Paul Maguire produced and performed new music derived from Prince’s 1987/1988 songs If I Was Your Girlfriend and I Wish You Heaven, which formed a loud musical environment for the garments. Actor Sophie Connon performed the speech of the brothers, shifting swiftly between characters.

 

This work casts the Cathars' ideas and writings in a contemporary context through investigations of the pop star Prince’s early androgynous performances, sexual lyrics and music. 

My Fathers was exhibited as part of Letters, King's College London, 2015.