Installation and Performance, 2019
Sex Militant was a two-night exhibition and performance held at Chicago’s Co-Prosperity Sphere which focused on the uncomfortable relationship between eroticism and state-violence, and considered the aesthetics of resistance and collective organizing as a means of social, sexual, and political liberation. The installation featured repurposed American flags from political demonstrations, images from current international civilian-led protest movements which successfully engaged in civil disobedience, a religious altar that venerated politically motivated self-immolation over the last decade, live heavy guitar performance, accompanying audio track, and a glowing cross which rotated when pulled by performers dressed in fetish-play police officer uniforms. Participants were called to question the framework of respectability politics, counterculture fetishization, and the sin of apathy in the context of collective revolutionary actions. A departure from political street theater, Blackmore worked with a collective group to develop an immersive space which layered durational performance, sound, and protest art to create a live interactive spectacle and encouraged viewers to consider unacknowledged acts of resistance and submission.
The event closed with a participatory ritual performance centered on healing and collective power, providing a balance to the tension and aggression expressed during the opening night.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SEX MILITANT, VISIT SEXMILITANT.COM
Prior to the ritual performance, a local Catholic Church organized a protest in response to the exhibition. Fr. Thomas Aschenbrener, the pastor of St. Mary of Perpetual Help, conducted prayers of deliverance from demons. The artist and venue was not notified in advance nor was the church communicative or clear about what they were protesting. Members of the SEX MILITANT collective had a banner that read “Castrate the Clergy” on hand from a prior demonstration and counter-protested in response to the Church’s attempt to intimate and harass those working on the exhibition. The protest was live-streamed.