Dark Continent: Semiramis Performance

Shani, Tai
Tai Shani’s Dark Continent is a series of texts interpreted into performance, film and installation, as well as a commissioned soundtrack. The project is an expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan’s 1405 protofeminist text The Book of the City of Ladies, in which dialogues with three celestial females, ‘Reason’, ‘Rectitude’ and ‘Justice’, build a metaphorical protected city for women, using examples of important contributions women have made to Western civilisation and arguments that prove their intellectual and moral equality with men. In 2018, Dark Continent culminated in DC: Semiramis, a large-scale, sculptural, immersive installation that also functioned as a site for a 12-part performance series presented over four days at Glasgow International, each documented episode focused on one of the characters of an allegorical ‘City of Women’. The project draws on multiple references in addition to de Pizan’s text, including feminist science fiction, postmodern architecture and feminist and queer theory. These create both a physical and a conceptual space to critique contemporary gender constructs and imagine an alternative history. The scale and scope of Tai Shani’s project challenges conceptions around traditional feminist art, which has historically centred on the domestic, craft, DIY and the personal body. Rather, Dark Continent considers feminist art practice in light of recent and ongoing rapid political shifts in regards to gender, race and class and how might art contribute in a meaningful way to these conversations.
  • Artwork Details:
  • Edition:
  • Material description: 12 Scripts, 12 documentation films of performances, Designs for installation, Instructions for performance, Notes on costume, Files of posters and soundtrack
  • Credit line: © the artist.
  • Theme:
  • Medium: Documentation
  • Accession number: ACC50/2018



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