three day performance
Palais de Tokyo (2016)
An ongoing research on the unemployed uniform
Since the beginning of our collaboration, we have kept unfolding the figure of the hostess and the ways in which she can retire from duty. This withdrawal from “duty” signified a broader resistance towards the historical interweaving of gender and labour, and specifically the mystification of the female sexe for commercial purposes, stripping her of her own desires to be of service to others.
The first female flight attendant was employed in 1930 to both serve and appease passengers with a maternal yet “alluring” presence. Within her role and appearance, she had to emanate a soft power of seduction and negotiation combined with a hard power of authority. To examine constructed female roles, we adopted the benefits of the uniform, but without its duties. As such, we reconfigured the figure of the air hostess into a concept for Hosting Air - Hosting clear skies and empty spaces.
For 8 years we have been, proud to say, unemployed air hostesses, wearing our self-made uniforms while being permanently off duty. To consolidate our withdrawal from the labour market, we speculated on the concept of hosting through performance. Since the absence of duties has rendered us useless, we find ourselves wondering: how can we perform without hosting an audience, or how can we host without providing a service. Our answer is to provide critical non-services in performance; volunteering as fountains for large corporate buildings (The Resort, NL), commemorating curators (Palais de Tokyo, FR), and practicing tango (Macao, IT).
In this collaboration, we have merged our backgrounds of fashion and performance and gather once a year to rethink and reconfigure the idea of the hostess and to experiment with performative gestures.
Elise Ehry (FR) and Kitty Maria (NL)
(Often referred to as Heather and Rosetta in publications)