Lizzil Gay is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher currently living and working on Wurundjeri country. Her creative work locates the body as a site of disruption, resistance, erotic habitat and spillage. The body is an anchor point for her conceptual, philosophical and political thinking.
As a researcher Lizzil has completed a PhD in Media and Communications from RMIT, Melbourne. Her doctoral thesis Wounded bodies as sites of dissensus: Acts of resistance by detained people seeking asylum, and in the performance art of Mike Parr explores the philosophy of pain as political, and the body as a site of resistance.
With her body as a habitable site, Lizzil works with issues of depersonalisation and incarceration to explore the fragmentation of identity and self, the unstable self. Drawing on her early training in Performance Studies, Suzuki Method, and Butoh at Melbourne University, and video media studies Victoria University, she has created works that animate the body as a site of expression, resistance and queer politics. Her seminal solo piece ‘C’mon Mickey. I love you’ (2010) was an embodied response to the death of her long time creative partner Mango Dysfunkt. Lizzil performed a 3 day durational live art installation at Donkey Wheel House in Melbourne exploring complex trauma, grief and loss through expressions of live self-harm and body modification.
Lizzil formed the notorious feminist burlesque group the Voodoo Trash Dolls in 2004 with fierce co-conspirators Willow J, Sparkarella, Lolly A’Bell and the late great Nikkity Splits. The Dolls unique and experimental blend of performance art, cabaret and ‘grotesque burlesque’ culminated in their most acclaimed show ‘Dressed to Kill’ in December 2008 directed by John-Paul Hussey. She also co-founded, alongside Mango Dysfunkt, the queer eco-activist performance group Dysfunkt Productions whose provocative and daring multi-media events toured nationally and internationally from 1996 until 2002. Prior to this she worked with a number of experimental performance groups including Tedium and Wild Lunch Dance Theatre.
Lizzil has also been fortunate to work alongside a number of significant Australian performance artists such as Stelarc, Casey Jenkins, Glitta Supernova, and Jill Orr. She continues to explore her own body within a performance art context, whilst researching the body as a site for radical relational politics and social transformation.
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