Bodies in ecstasy: An investigation, through creative praxis, into gender, transgression and the possibility of generating politically engaged subjective agency

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Contemporary Arts Honours


School of Contemporary Arts


Faculty of Education & Arts

First Advisor

Dr Dean Chan

Second Advisor

Dr Nicola Kaye


Employing reflexive praxis as its methodology, this Honours project has been constructed around two exhibitions of creative work. The theoretical research is framed by Judith Butler's (1990, 2004) notion of gender performativity. Specifically, this research addresses Butler's conceptions of gender transgression and ecstasy as strategies for reflexively engaging with the social and cultural forces that frame gendered bodies. In particular, it investigates the ways in which Butler's notion of the transgressive, ecstatic gendered body exposes possibilities for generating subjective agency under normative hegemonic structures. The creative research component of this research has entailed further development of my existing creative practice. It has involved manipulating inner tubes, creating both sculptural objects and video works, to explore and test ideas around constraining gender norms, agency and the embodied self. This creative exploration resulted in works that were shown in two exhibitions, in September 2009 and May 2010. The period leading up to and between each exhibition was employed in reflexively engaging with the creative works and theoretical research to further refine and develop those ideas. A final period of reflexive praxis was undertaken in the creation of this exegesis.

Access Note

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