The Act of Licking a Rolls-Royce in its Entirety

The act of licking a Rolls Royce in its entirety talkes about the objectification of desire. The work is a performance delivered as a video playable on any standard television or projection device.

The work utilises the medium of film and its embedded expectation of the sexualisation of content to stimulate the desire typical of advertising and mainstream cinema constructed through the “male gaze”.

Within this medium it constructs a mise-en-scene of a variety of obvious visual cues such as:
  • the female protagonist who is dressed as a “hostess” typically seen at functions for rich and powerful men,
  • the convertible Rolls-Royce which is the pinnacle of luxury cars,
  • the female draped around the car as is typical of luxury car shows; and
  • the garage environment where women typically do not enter but where their presence is fetishised in mechanics’ calendars and pornographic films.

The film challenges the traditional “male gaze” (whether actual or implied) because the unconvential act of licking disempowers the viewer, omitting the content that they expect and replacing it with content decided upon by the performer. This transfers agency from the observer to the performer.
While licking is a sexual act and often implies subservience and degradation, it also, through the maternal licking of mother-to-child, implies nurture, care and protection. This confuses the traditional “madonna-whore” dichotomy used to categorise women in conventional media by presenting maternal tendencies in a peformance expected to be sexual.

The licking of the car in its entirety also empowers the artist with a form of ownership of it since in a kind of totemic way she has been able to take some of its power.

In this way, the piece inverts both the expected sexual dynamic of the female with the car and the dynamic of a sexually dressed female on film.
The purpose of the work is therefore to stimulate reflection around the unconscious expectations we have in relation to certain media and the participation of female bodies within them. 
Video 24 minutes


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