Sex with Nation: The OK (Bad) Girls Cabaret

  • Katherine Mezur


When her skirts ripple, the room becomes a tidal wave of red, a red sea of cloth. The gallery is Norico’s dress. If Norico pulls at her skirts, would the walls come down? Or are we drowning in her red dress? The red skirts flow away from her small gesturing figure. She is the vortex and the siren, sitting on a twelve-foot high pedestal. Norico embodies the room and becomes the dress consuming the room and all beneath. One enters the “exhibit” by crawling under her skirts. Billowing and swimming your way through the red skirts, you arrive at Norico’s throne, a padded toilet seat on a raised platform. Under her skirts that form a tent beneath this throne, everyone is bathed in the deep red light filtering through the crimson fabric. Norico invites spectators to take a flashlight and look up her dress to her seated bottom. Wearing white little girl underwear, she moves on her seat, rocking back and forth, lifting up and plumping down again, making billows of her dress swell, surge, and roll away. Her thighs press against the seat. Everyone underneath glances up, then away, caught in the act of looking, they are the captured audience, bowing beneath the bad girl goddess’s skirts.


Female Body Global Commodification Japanese Prime Minister Commodity Culture Woman Artist 
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    I am using some of the discourse on “abjection” that Karen Shimakawa has put forward in her book, National Abjection. While I am not looking at the same field of immigrant and nation, Norico uses methods of “abjection” and performs “abject” in a shifting “national/cultural identifying process.” Karen Shimakawa, National Abjection (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), 3. Shimakawa also draws on Judith Butler’s “abject” as theorized in Bodies that Matter, particularly her use of the “unlivable,”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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© Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley 2005

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  • Katherine Mezur

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