Eleanor Hannan and Elizabeth Dancoes's 1001 Funny Things you can do with a Skirt
Stories and art on the ancient skirt gesture of Anasyrma

Anasyrma : the lifting of the skirt: introductions by Elizabeth and Eleanor

Anasyrma: the gesture

The ritual gesture of Anasyrma spans human history. Though some might find the Anasyrma gesture frightening in its fierce assertion of female sexuality, it remains a gesture of protest around the world, restoring power and ecstatic joy to women.

Our starting point in exploring Anasyrma was the story of the serving maid, Baubo (Iambe), and her encounter with the goddess, Demeter. In it, Anasyrma’s liminal object is the skirt; its Mystery, what lies beneath.

Baubo lifts her skirt and the goddess laughs. Why? 

Beginning with a snuggling face hiding in the warmth of its soft folds, through childhood and teenage provocations, onto an adult sensual indulgence in the caress of silken textiles, to the appreciation of weightier fabrics that assert shamanistic powers, women experience the skirt as a distinctive reminder of the archetypal aspect of the feminine.

‘Skirt Power Stories’ investigates the texture, sound and appearance of the skirt and the cultural pervasiveness of its expression as an extension of primal female sexuality – think CanCan, Marilyn, Salsa. The eloquence of its movement makes us simultaneously serving wench and goddess at the eternal crossroads negotiating an outcome with fate.

We thought of the website for '1001 Funny Things' as a place to house all our research, thoughts (know as the dialogues on the site), stories, and imagery on the gesture Anasyrma. But how do you drag the ancient feminine onto a technological construction, bring order and searchability to revelation, transcendence, and transformation, and still allow for subtle erotic power and inexplicable humour? The intention is coherence and sequence but the material, interestingly, refuses to fit neatly into prescribed formats.

We were different people when we started (as seen in our dialogues and other thoughts). We were mothers of young daughters, interested in both down-to-earth researching and pushing creative boundaries. Reflections on Anasyrma, and myths of women in general, were being rethought at the time; so, we ventured into new ways of presenting the material, for example as an anonymous street-card usually associated with advertising and as a CD-ROM.  

Over the years we’ve also shown the material in more conventional ways.
We came together again for an exhibition as a celebration of Elizabeth's 60th birthday in 2014. Called "Silly Skirt Poem" a celebration of the triumph of the feminine, the show opened in November 2016 (just a few days before the fateful US election).

Now as women in our sixties we are re-exploring the materials from a much different perspective. This website accumulates, revisits, organizes and presents years of completed stories/art, digital and analogue file-folders, and drawing-portfolios of stashed work on the mythology of women's sexual energy, as it speaks to the fecundity of body and mind. We continue to be excited by its challenges, both as artists and as friends

Welcome to our treasure trove our quest.