As a racist, misogynist, possibly treasonous, and definitely unqualified non-politician approaches his inauguration as president of the United States, artists are scrambling for political leverage by any means available. According to artist Coralina Meyer, to find material for political action, women need look no farther than our own drawers.
Under the moniker Lambastic — the name she uses when working collaboratively, in a satirical style — Meyer has issued a call on Facebook and via word of mouth, seeking contributions of used women’s underwear. This is the Old Glory Underwear Audit: the artist and her collaborators will sew all the submissions into a series of “Cunt Quilts,” which she plans to continue assembling on a quarterly basis for at least four years, or until a woman is elected to the country’s highest office. The first of these works will be flown on the National Mall at the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday, January 21; it will be part of a mass-scale protest against a President-elect who is openly dismissive of and hostile towards women (among many other members of the citizenry).
“My artwork is a ménage a trois between public trauma, intimate memory, and consumer history,” Meyer told Hyperallergic. “Our generation is uniquely positioned as consumers whose political exhaustion from tactical trauma can be transgressed with matrilineal armor. As an artist, it is my job to make hidden histories accessible. The project has multiple phases: the Underwear Audit accounts for our bodies, the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch airs our grievances, and the Cunt Quilt is an association formed.”
The project is part of an ongoing work by Meyer called the City of Today for Feminine Urbanism, which asks questions about access and citizenship through a series of proposed devices and social interventions.
“It is a dystopian historic fiction in the form of identity construction documents as instructions for survival,” said Meyer of City of Today. “The project proposes intimate solutions for urban-scale problems, by comparing failed bureaucratic models to satirical, infrastructural violence.” Meyer began the masterplanning of the work in 2010, during her time at Hunter College. Other pieces of it include an IUD/IED installation that conflates contraceptive intrauterine devices with improvised explosive devices and an insurance policy for building tampons that “may be scaled up as personal flotation devices,” or expanded to address a number of other satirical symptoms of social discord.
Throughout the work, Meyer’s tone is darkly comedic and wryly clever; the Underwear Audit was launched with a manifesto that contains this appeal:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled drawers, yearning to breathe free! No matter the condition- they’ll be a revelation of the shameful, the sanitized, the washed-up, the worn, the probed, the holy, the scarlet, the loosened, the exonerated, the secret, and the secreted.
Thus far, she’s received 72 submissions, all of which will be included in a Cunt Quilt “no matter the condition” — though Meyer added that she’s “not a seamstress. I work in architecture, so I see this as a kit of parts which can be assembled and dismantled according to the context.”
Given these trying times, when Republicans are hell bent on dismantling basic human access to health care and targeting reproductive freedom, Meyer’s project is a welcoming beacon for those hoping to air the nation’s dirty laundry. As she says: “A Nasty Woman fights fiercely for her sovereignty — from trench to tip, head to heart. During a political regime in control of the media, the revolution may not be publicized, but it will be pubicized.”
Fists to the sky, ladies, and drawers to the wind!
Information for submitting to the Old Glory Underwear Audit can be found on Meyer’s website.