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Online videos were digitized with the support of the Regional Council of
Nord / Pas-de-Calais and digitization plans 2009 and 2010 of the french Ministry of Culture.


of COHEN Steven

FRANCE, 2014, 00:05:45

Production : COHEN Steven
Genre : Filmed action, Performance
Keyword : action, public space, Performance, Body

Summary :
COQ/COCK is a performance art public intervention made in response to a visual art commission from the Festival D'Automne à Paris for the Season South Africa in France in 2013.  Through the medium of a 'happening' I wanted to explore the duality of being a South African citizen who has been resident in France for a very long time. I chose to use French national symbols, the cock, the Eiffel Tower, elements of glamour and beauty from the Folies Bergère ... as well as a particularly South African approach to using public space with a political consciousness. I handed over the choreography of the work to a rooster which was attached to my genitals with a ribbon and because of which i would be involuntarily drawn in different directions simultaneously. It was important to me to use my phallus, not in terms of sexuality but of identity politics, because everything about me is inscribed in my penis - white, jewish,male,queer. I chose the Trocadero, the Square of Human Rights, because it is the public site which most represents France, but also because it is loaded with significance relevant to my proposition. Even as a child in South Africa I was aware of the images of Hitler occupying the space. It is also the site where the physical body of Sarah Baartman, a South African woman of Xhoisan descent, was unethically exhibited for seventy years as an oddity and a freak of nature. My performance lasted ten minutes before it was forcibly halted by the French National Police. I was then arrested and taken to trial where I was found guilty and convicted of sexual exhibitionism with no penalty. Although the French High Court branded me a criminal pervert, I will always maintain that the work is a poetic essay on the phallic nature of power. I paid a high price to make COQ/COCK and what I bought was a place in the history of art debate about the limits of freedom of artistic expression. (Steven Cohen)

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Original language : _wordless
Original format : HD Video
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Chroma : Couleur
Available version(s) : Textes en français

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