Performing Reparative Craft: Oreet Ashery’s Passing through Metal

Eves, Natasha. 2024. Performing Reparative Craft: Oreet Ashery’s Passing through Metal. TEXTILE: Cloth and Culture, ISSN 1475-9756 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Passing through Metal (2017–18), a performance by queer interdisciplinary artist Oreet Ashery, is the focus of this paper. Featuring the enigmatic intervention of a death metal band into a collective of knitters, the performance follows this basic structure: first, forty knitters, each seated with contact microphones attached to the metal needles; second, a band bursts into the acoustics of the space. Commissioned in 2017 by Lilith Performance Studio in Malmö, Sweden, Ashery’s bringing together of death metal and knitting queers Sweden’s industrious cottage industry history and disrupts the predominantly white male metal scenes. Taking care not to be disparaging, writer David Keenan describes the paranoid, destructive energy behind such musics as adolescent, whereas knitting is an ostensibly quieter reparative practice. The apparent conflicts between the performative elements in the piece will be explored through the prism of Melanie Klein’s and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s theories on the depressive-reparative position and its oscillatory relationship to the paranoid. With this framing, it is argued that Ashery’s body of work frequently characterizes a culture at odds with itself, and through this framework the generative possibilities and pathetic inadequacies of both reparative work and adolescent destruction will be addressed.

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Oreet Ashery; queer performance art; Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick; reparative positioning; death metal music; knitting; relational practices

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11 October 2023Accepted
20 February 2024Published Online

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Date Deposited:

10 May 2024 10:40

Last Modified:

10 May 2024 10:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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