Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Carol Jordan 

BA [Hons] Art

Carol Jordan is a Wicklow artist. With ancient credentials in psychology, an on-going engagement with the therapeutic informs her practice. An erstwhile activist, her artwork has a strong socio-political dimension. Dublin’s Copper House Gallery hosted her 2018 joint exhibition Trauma; Signal Arts, a solo exhibition in 2021- both incorporated photography, poetry and sculpture. Jordan also performed at In the Making: Navel at Pallas Projects, 2024. An abiding interest in mythology found expression in storytelling. Words are her intimates. Writing and sharing poetry led to her current performance-based practice. She aims to evoke a strong emotional response.

Project Description

This performance project witnesses the domestic abuse of contemporary women and their narratives of silent disempowerment. These are juxtaposed against that of the mythic Deirdre of the Sorrows to voice her archetypal wisdom and, ultimately, her power.
My practice is research-based: mythological, sociological, psychological. Academic research is complemented by the inter-personal through sensitive interviewing, emulating the facilitation technique of BrokenTalkers.
In isolating darkness, the woman’s myths, ancient and modern, are re-enacted, her silhouette stark, her abuse spot-lit.
The performance is driven by the spoken-word, juxtaposed against silence. Metaphors of butchering find expression in the choreography, metaphor being the life-blood of this poetry of violence.

The witnessing of others’ stories brings our own to bear. Through this art practice - birthed in the confessional but aspiring to the trans-personal - experience can be therapeutically re-framed. My work seeks dialogical and empathic engagement.

Thesis title: Women Performing Confession in Shame

This thesis concerns itself with women and power-a feminist issue. It addresses identity issues in relation to Irish Catholic women -between the 1930's and 1950's- and seeks to elucidate the dynamics of their identity construction/formation. It contends that the Irish Catholic Church, as Institution and ideology, played a pivotal role in the production of that Irish Catholic female identity.
This thesis approaches these issues through the vehicle of performance, centrally, the repeated performance of the Catholic ritual of Confession.
In addition, it applies the concept of performativity in the production of identity, arguing that the Irish Catholic woman performed her de-valued identity through citations of self-accusation and self-debasement to access ritual purity and atonement. Such citations were, arguably, integral to her gender-specific performance of that institutionally policed ritual.
It is recognized that specific regime/institutions and their underpinning ideologies produce specific disorders and disordered identities and critically,
are also reproduced by them. Irish Catholicism can, arguably, be implicated here. Dynamics of control, of power and powerlessness are relevant. Shame and
shaming are viewed as playing a crucial role in the construction / formation of a passive, shame-bound disordered identity which is gender-specific to Irish
Catholic women, of the period. Building on the shame endemic to the ritual of Confession, it is argued that the disvalued construction of women integral to the
Catholic mythology that underpins the ritual, primes Catholic girls and women to internalize the shame generated by the performance, and, moreover, the
repeated performance of that ritual. This thesis argues that the Irish Catholic woman’s repeated performance of the ritual of Confession rehearses, co-constructs
and confirms a toxic shame-bound identity.
This identity construction / formation, occurs, of course, within the larger context of the Irish Catholic ideology of the time, co-constructed by its other
representations, in particular by the Marian representations so pertinent to Catholic women, given that the Virgin Mary is their role model–a problematic,
alienating model.
This disordered-identity formation should also be located within the context of the traditional Irish Catholic family, its developmental and generational
processes and beliefs–one confirming and legitimating the other.