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Interior Scroll

Dreamed and performed 1975 by Carolee Schneeman; as told to Patricia Ariadne

'Carolee Schneemann reads a scroll pulled from her vagina, 1975.

Carolee dreamed she extracted a long scroll from her vagina.

"I made a little drawing of what I had dreamed--a woman reading from a text as she pulled it from her vagina--but I never wanted to perform it." Carolee laughed heartily. "I knew that it would get me into terrible trouble!"

Carolee interpreted the dream as a reference to the vagina as a source of "interior knowledge," a "vulvic space" from which sacred feminine energies and primal generative mysteries could be derived...

Carolee concluded that the dream image seemed to do with the power and possession of naming--the movement of interior thought to external signification, and the reference to an uncoiling serpent, to actual information (like a ticker tape, rainbow, torah in the ark, chalice, choir loft, plumbline, bell tower, the umbilicus and tongue).

For the performance, Carolee ritualistically contoured her face and naked body with mud and slowly and gracefully pulled the scroll from her body while reading the text.

The text, a prose poem, commented on a male filmmaker who had rejected her films because of their "persistence of feelings," "diaristic indulgence," and "personal clutter." She concluded the poem on an ironic note:

he told me had lived with
a "sculptress" I asked does
that make me a "film-makeress"?
Oh No he said we think of you
as a dancer

SOURCE: Women Dreaming-into-Art: Seven Artists who Create from Dreams, by Patricia Ariadne, (2006, Galde Press), p. 133-5

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