Mad Meg: remember your name in domestic violenceExport this event to calendar

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 — 10:30 AM EST

As part of the University of Waterloo's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, Mad Meg creates a space in which community members can reflect upon their connection to domestic violence, which is often silenced due to shame, grief, and fear. The installation is not a space for full disclosure but a location in which individuals can reflect on and witness the lives (in solidarity and as a community) of those who were or are involved in this ubiquitous battle.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Mad Meg paintingPieter Bruegel the Elder, Mad Meg (Dulle Griet) c. 1562, Oil on wood, 117,4 x 162 cm, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp. 

Summary: Created by Professor Sorouja Moll (Communication Arts), the work emerges from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 1562 oil on wood painting Mad Meg (Dulle Griet). The artwork’s allegorical complexity and representational chaos is typical of Bruegel's work. Mad Meg depicts a figure in the foreground wearing armour over common kitchen/servant clothing. In a sack carried on Meg’s back and bundled in an apron, kitchen utensils butt up against gold goblets and silver plates. The figure is calling upon community members to engage in and wage a battle against forces of oppression as Meg advances forward toward the mouth of hell. The image evokes war, conflict, and domestic battles and offers a intersectional tableau from which to examine domestic violence and the tactics of resistance arising from such spaces such as the kitchen, community, and nation. 

Objective: The purpose of the work is to create a space in which community members can reflect upon their connection to domestic violence, which is often silenced due to shame, grief, and fear. The socialized and familial stigmatization and its normalization leads to an individual’s sense of alienation and confusion. The installation is not a space for full disclosure but a location in which individuals can reflect on and witness the lives (in solidarity and as a community) of those who were or are involved in this ubiquitous battle —whether that be ourselves or someone we know. 

Approach: The installation will be located in the UWaterloo Arts Quad in the large circular planter under the tree. Individuals will be offered a wooden spoon (a metaphor, a quotidian tactic, and Meg's utensil) to mark with a name and then plant it. The wooden spoon's symbolism, as a stained object, holds multiple discourses (a tool of nurture, a weapon, comfort, nostalgia, domesticity, memory, grief). In this sense the spoon also becomes an object of storytelling, enunciation, and reclamation and will stand as a counter memorial refusing silence in the face of any and all forms of domestic violence.

Location: The Fine Art Department’s Airstream SAIL trailer will be used to convey an “art of being in between” in order to draw “unexpected results” (De Certeau 1984, 163). Parked in the University’s arts quad, community participants are invited to enter and reflect as they write the names. Michel de Certeau (1984) would explain this use of space as another “way of operating,” or another “way of using” and creating  “a certain play in the machine through a stratification of different and interfering kinds of functioning” (163). Inside the trailer digital media narratives will augment the installation.

The SAIL trailer will be installed for three days of the project and de-installed on Thursday, November 28. The wooden spoons will remain as a counter memorial until the closing of 16 Days (December 10, 2019).

Location 
ML - Modern Languages
Arts Quad - SAIL Airstream trailer
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada

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