Comissioned by ICA VCU
Richmond, Virginia
Curated by David Riley

“A DEWCLAW is an often-vestigial “non-weight bearing” toe on that appears just above the paw on cats, dogs and other mammals. When you search for the term on the web, hundreds of results are returned about the contentious discourse on Dewclaw removal; how the claw is attached, if it is ethical to remove it, the pain and complications that can come thereafter, as well as what to do if your pet’s extra claw is accidentally injured.

SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY’s performance by the same name is a realtime multimedia composition that uses the choreography of common sadomasochist bondage play and the faux-rage fueled narrative vocalization styles of 1980 and 90’s wrestling promos, to consider old and forgotten memories, movements, habits, desires, and dreams we hold on to and assimilate into our bodies and identities.”

DEWCLAW is part of the TOTALRESISTANCE() series.
“ As much as an animal’s DEWCLAW might be a vestigial appendage, it is part of them, connected to the paw by flesh and collective history. What are our personal and collective histories that force us to carry the same vestigial signifiers? How do we emit or wear those invisible parts, long incorporated? To which part of our being are they attached? Are they difficult to remove? Do they pain us? What are the complications that come from their presence? What happens when our forgotten extras are accidentally called upon?

In DEWCLAW’s four parts, [LIGATURES], [TEAR], [REMOVAL], and [AMELIORATION], this three person performance mirrors the Internet’s discourse on declawing by scratching deep into stories about leaving heterosexuality behind, habits learned during intimacy with ex lovers, and shedding adolescence.”