Craftivism and the Menstrual Fluid States of Casey Jenkins

Scholarly paper

This paper considers Australian performance artist Casey Jenkins’ piece Casting Off My Womb (2013). In this work, Jenkins sat for 28 days in the Darwin Visual Arts Association, knitting a scarf from a cream-coloured ball of wool that was lodged in her vagina. The knitted wool was hung on coat hangers that were suspended from the ceiling. The work received a lot of public attention because Jenkins continued to knit throughout the days of her menstrual cycle, interweaving her menstrual blood into the artwork.

I will consider this work in relation to the global ‘Slow Movement’ that attempts to counter-act the fast pace of capitalist consumption and its deleterious effects on the environment. Using the theorisation of ‘slow dramaturgy’ (Eckersall and Paterson, 2011), I will consider how the rhythms of the female body were represented in the work, and how these were altered in its mediated version created by SBS and spread globally through YouTube.

Further to this, I will draw on philosopher Jane Bennett’s work on material agency in Vibrant Matter (2010) to consider the ‘thing-power’ of the menstrual blood in relation to Jenkins’ political ecology and feminist activism.