Paddy Johnson's explanation of this pro-Hillary Clinton, post-election art event in Madison Square Park isn't very clear.
On days like this, it can be easy to lose sight of the work that is being done. Amidst all the set backs, there are people protesting and taking a stand. One such example came yesterday in Madison Square Park, when a small group of 10 women performers stood clustered in the cold wearing pant suits and holding scissors. Organized by theater directors JoAnne Akalaitis and Ashley Tata, the group invited park visitors and audience members to cut pieces from their suits, drawing from Yoko Ono’s 1965 performance “Cut Piece.” The pieces of fabric, according to Tata, would serve “as a gift or a reminder, a remembrance of recent events and potentially more optimistic actions.”
Layered onto this interpretation, is the meaning of Ono’s original piece, which suggested that viewing without responsibility has the potential to harm. This speaks harshly, to those who chose to cast their vote away or not vote at all. Additionally, it continues to speak the disturbing undercurrent of violence and misogyny in our culture.
Presumably readers get the pantsuit reference (Hillary Clinton favors this garb) but Johnson also assumes they know the specifics and mechanics of Ono's Cut Piece. Johnson offers only vague suggestions of how that work relates to Clinton's election loss to Donald Trump.
Let's unpack it a bit. The Ono piece assumes an aggressive audience cutting off large swathes of the clothing of the vulnerable young woman performer, exposing her body, and it indicts non-participant witnesses who fail to intervene to prevent this humiliation. In the case of the pantsuit protest we're not told how much, if any, clothing was cut from the performers' bodies. The audience is described as "attentive and kind," so it's unlikely any bystander guilt actually took place. Unlike Ono in her piece, the performers were arranged in buddy pairs and had whistles ready if anyone took the artwork at its literal meaning.
Regardless of what effect (or lack of effect) the protest might have had in real time, Johnson editorializes as to the intended message: that voting for someone other than Clinton, or not voting, was the equivalent of standing by while sexual violence is committed.
The performance, Johnson notes, was timed with efforts by the Clinton camp to change the electoral college vote by convincing electors to reconsider their November 8 choices. If Trump had lost and mounted such an effort, howls of outrage would likely have emanated from Clinton supporters. The Madison Square performers' de facto alignment with the intelligence community's "Putin interfered with the election" stories -- also intended to flip the vote -- is not discussed. Also not considered is the cutting-of-the-cloth in relation to Clinton's own aggression. "We came, we saw, he died" (Clinton's brag about the non-judicial murder of Gaddafi) doesn't suggest much in the way of vulnerability.
Update: Just sticking this here, filed under "pantsuit" -- the LA Times reports on the pro-Clinton Pantsuit Nation, a "secret Facebook group." These private groups on Mark Zuckerberg's website have become quite the rage. He may be a data-exploiting monopolist, but it's OK to use his platform to host your political forums as long as they're "secret." And of course no one in Bangalore is monitoring it for content.