The Feminine Semiotic

Plot 99: The 21st Century Prophecy Show, performed in Cape Town 2011


In the 21st century, women’s puppetry and animist practices are emerging to push the
margins of political, cultural and sexual identities.  The Feminine Semiotics of animism seek new pathways to imagining feminine form, theory and being.

Puppetry reveals itself as a sentient tool that simultaneously exposes the constructs of being whilst engaging in what could be described as a performative alchemy of imagination and form.  Aja Marneweck articulates this complex approach to exploring multiplex identity through emancipatory artistic practices such as puppetry as a Feminine Semiotic.

Liminality, multigeneity, leakage and permeability are key to understanding the embodied surfaces of the Feminine Semiotic as it arises in animist puppetry practices,  and can be seen in the work of the Paper Body Collective, as well as many other artists and practitioners working at these intersections of creation.

The Feminine Semiotic is a critical as well as embodied approach to exploring the potential of animist practices as resistant feminine creativity. It is a proposal for creative, critical strategy that addresses the spaces of the sacred feminine, liminality, flux, excess and transformation held within puppetry practices.

The Feminine Semiotics of puppetry offer a representational strategy for syncretic identities in a complex marriage between content and form, intersections of metaphor and critique, surface and innovation represented through the thresholds of animist practices. In the 21st century, pre-figurative and procreative artistic practices such as puppetry can provide women with tools for both complex expression and creative plurality, specifically in light of their significance as a feminizing, de-colonizing form of artistic resistance, seeking pathways to personal and community empowerment and transformation.

To read more about this radical approach to embodied puppetry and animist practices you can read Dr Aja Marneweck’s thesis dissertation or latest articles here