RE#SISTER RESIDENCY: Natalie Sharp – The Lone Taxidermist (UK) 2018

Natalie Sharp, aka the Lone Taxidermist was a resident artist during the week leading up to 2018’s RE#SISTER Feminist Festival. Natalie’s avuncular personality ensured that the workshops – celebrating our bodies – “went with a swing”. This correspondent found himself thrumming a miniature loofah-shaped sex toy and twanging protective devices that were designed for the safety of sex workers. Incredibly – under the aegis of both Sharp and Lisa Lavery – the sonic results from the workshops had a clarity and focus not associated with such creative dossing. Natalie assures us that this is vital research for her new project; based round the human skin.

At the festival itself, and backed by her band, confused feministas and innocent mankini bystanders were wrapped in a gargantuan hymen and found themselves confronted by talc-laden, Japanese-mouthed, ultra-inflated humans who wished to consort with them in an uncomfortable manner. All this to a bubbling, C21st pop / post-rave soundtrack and some agent–provocateuse manoeuvres par excellence from Sharpe herself. A veritable Daughter of the Stage. The World of Twisted Re#Sisters indeed.

Over to Natalie, then, for her time at WORM, entitled “Wormhole”, written on 14th March 2018, the day the great Stephen Hawking passed away.

“Galileo died 200 years before the birth of Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking died today.
I’m considering how we created a concept of reimagining all performance in the form of a circle or a wormhole or a black hole.
There is no edges or boxes, or end point. It’s a continuous looping effect with bodies, sound, space and time.
Is it a coincidence that we spent four days in our own black hole, deconstructing a trifle concept and then one of the greatest minds of our generation, Mr Blackhole, died?
I took away so much from my time at WORM, but the main part was it was seemingly impossible to make anything impossible. I owe much of this to Mariette who made everything we asked for come to life.
We made a human 808 drum machine attaching contact mics to our larynx’s , we created an exquisite corpse out of body parts human and inhuman. The Participants or ‘Worms’ formed a human cycle, attached inside their own tubes to one another, in constant rotation.
For the last year I’ve been having this vision of creating a huge inflatable dome, which the audience could cosy on up together inside, a sort of second skin, a hymen, and a way to make the viewer dissolve inside our show.
On International Women’s day the Worms had the task of creating out of 50 metres of plastic. To see that vision fully realised was truly fulfilling.

Richard tells me WORM is a state of mind, not a music venue. I think he’s right.”

Natalie Sharp.

( As told to Richard Foster. Photos courtesy of Florian Cramer and Lisa Lavery.)