Let’s talk about the unbelievable boundlessness of true love, guys. I’m totes serious.
Last night, I heard a poem about how frustrating the limitations of our bodies are when you love someone SO profoundly that commitment, sex, marriage, whatever- all of that “normal” stuff is simply not enough. In the poem, two people in love were stripped of their skin, muscles and organs, so that they were only skeletons. In this minimal state, the lovers’ bones “clicked, rattled, and scraped” at one another until they dissolved into a single pile of bone-dust, and that bone-dust was reprocessed into a piece of chalk, and they imagined that someone would write the word “love” on the street out of their skeletons-turned-chalk. At least I think that’s how it went.
The point is, our material selves are not amorphous, and thus our connections with other people can only go so far. Or so I thought. For nearly 15 years now, performance artist and industrial music pioneer Genesis (Breyer) P-Orridge has challenged the idea that there are inflexible physical limitations to human expressions of love. I’ll come back to that in a minute though.
I’ve admired the work of P-Orridge for many years now, what could be a more perfect day than h/er birthday (Happy 63rd!) to celebrate h/er life and share some of my favorite work?
I first got into P-Orridge in high school listening to Throbbing Gristle. YES:
Then I found out about ’70s experimental performance art troupe COUM (also ft. the FAB Cosey Fanni Tutti):
It was actually pretty recently that I discovered h/er most daring and important project to date:
Genesis P-Orridge’s quest to become ONE pandrogynous being with h/er wife Lady Jaye Breyer, culminating in the personhood of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. The experimental endeavor involves plastic surgery, hormonal therapy, cross-dressing and other physical alterations, in order to merge the two lovers’ bodies and spirits. S/he calls this identity-flux, “re-union and re-solution of male and female to a perfecting hermaphroditic state.” Take a look at their accomplishment:
Pretty amazing, amiright? Lady Jaye passed away in 2007, but P-Orridge continues the project even after her departure from a perspective of, “S/he is still her(e).”
I think this a beautiful example of (for lack of a better term) a “straight” couple breaking away from heteronormativity and engaging in some good ol’ gender ambiguity. To be real, I also find it totally creepy. Not so much because of the operations, but because of the inherent loss of one’s individual identity in the process. It’s like a total rejection of selfness that I think would leave me depressed and confused. What about your separate histories and different dreams? Only admiration for P-Orridge though. If you’re interested in this, check out the movie, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye and of course this exhibition at the Warhol.
POWER to P-Orridge, and again, happy birthday!