Feminimalism

a production

Background

Feminimalism was a live → ↑ → project. It was a girl's version of the boys' version of Minimalism.

Open Channel, Melbourne © 1979

Credits

Compositions & arrangements - Philip Brophy
Guitar - Maria Kozic
Electric piano - Jane Stephenson
Flute - Tanya McIntyre
Synthesizer - Chris McIntyre / Gayle Slater
Synthesizer - Julie Wiffen

1977

Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne

1978

Phillip Institute of Technology, Melbourne

1979

VIDEO PLUS CONCERT 2, Open Chanel, Melbourne
Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Melbourne

Open Channel, Melbourne © 1979

Overview

Feminimalism took delight in deliberately re-arranging the original compositions for → ↑ →'s Minimalism set of songs into absurdly 'feminized' cliches of melodiousness. Tanya's flute-playing set things rolling; Maria's guitar playing was on par with a nun at a campfire; the only thing missing from Jane's piano playing was a pale pink smock. The project was similar in conceptual tone to the mocking of gender binaries which fuelled both the Minimalism set (sometimes mockingly referred to as 'Male Minimalism' as per the poster from 1977) and the Venitian Rendezvous set of passively conservative Muzak tracks.

In the latter half of the 1970s in the arts, 'Feminism' often produced what → ↑ → in their punk origins derided as boring and unengaging. Gender divisions were neither questioned nor highlighted in → ↑ →, and most people involved in the group shared this point of view. The Feminimalism take on minimalism took even further the negative assumptions of minimalist music in general - ie. that its melodiousness was trite, decorous, incidental and irritatingly saccharine. For Philip in particular, this negativity only highlighted the chauvinism of contemporary music composition and its attendant heroics (not to mention the myriad of so-called 'radical' strategies of punk and post-punk artists claiming 'noise' to be their weapon of sonic violence). In the end, the Feminimalism set was no more or less vapid than the Minimalism set.

Open Channel, Melbourne © 1979

Technical

Philip provided the arrangements for the performers, who graciously succumbed to the boredom of participating in the project. The first performance was at Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, followed by a gig at Preston Institute of Technology where Maria and Jane were studying. No studio recordings were made of the Feminimalism project. The songs titles were:

1. Song With A Sigh
2. One Note Song For The Girls
3. Last Song
4. Funny Song
5. Touch & Go

For the Video Plus Concert 2, live video was incorporated. The group was a trio for this performance (Maria, Jane and Tanya). Each played synthesizers, performed on typewriters, and filmed each other engaged in a set of menial office secretary tasks. The camera fixated in close-up on hands performing menial music. It was decades ahead of the laptop music era, where most performers are doing even less with their fingers.