In April, Professor Emily Beck was invited to Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania to give an artist talk, a classroom lecture and install two site specific pieces from her newest body of work.
Beck installed Ladylike (expanded dollhouse) at the gardeHouse at Lafayette College. The gardeHouse is a campus guard house that has been converted into an installation space for visiting artists. Ladylike (expanded dollhouse) is a digital animation projected onto a laser cut project screen. The projection screen depicts a 14 room house that contains domestic and public spaces in which women perform. The animation utilizes the icon for woman as the main character. The character runs from room to room completing and failing the tasks the room demands. This project is a reflection of the expanded rolls women play, and the lack of domestic, societal and institutional support and recognition that many of them face.
Simultaneously, Beck worked with a group of students to select sites throughout campus to install Ladylike (altered signage) on or adjacent to the doors to women’s bathrooms. This project consisted of a series of altered signs representing the icon for “woman.” The icon for woman is widely recognized as an indicator for the female gender- we read it and recognize it almost as readily as we recognize our own voice. The altered signage depicts women paired with labels that have been assigned to the female gender. By presenting this altered signage, Beck asks the viewer to consider how we name, classify and stereotype gender. Naming a person who identifies as female “crazy” because they exhibit emotion or passion, or “bossy” because they exhibit authority and knowledge is destructive, controlling and hurtful. Inside of the bathrooms text was placed on the mirrors to describe the project and give a call to action.