Residency artists and researchers

Multidisciplinary art

The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein

Working group

The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein
With: Krista Vuori and Brogan Davison

Blurring the lines between live art, dance, theatre and fine art, The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein interrogates representations of female subjectivity, looking at ways in which social media and consumerism have redefined how we relate to the female body, one’s ‘true self’ and public shaming.

In this irreverent phenomenon of music, dance and ‘witch-bitch’ ritual, The Famous plunges into the ghostly underworld of popular culture, seeking, as she puts it, ‘the real me, the pure me, behind this soiled shroud of promiscuity.’

Pulling from the myth of Medusa, Nicki Minaj and her own legendary self(ie), The Famous examines pop culture’s take on the ‘female monster’. She reveals, ‘I’ll be ResurrecDEAD as your ultimate fantasy – a horny dead virgin.’ Repentance might just manifest from behind The Famous’ unearthly gaze, if she can put her slutty soul to rest…

Beware the horny ghost.

Notorious interrogates female monstrosity, the figure of the witch, its relation to the contemporary figure of the whore, and the cultural tendency to punish, vilify or redeem that figure. What is threatening about the figure of the whore, like the witch – and the nude female body on stage – is embodied agency.

Research and development for Notorious has been supported by The Barbican (London, UK), Arts Council England, PACT Zollverein (Essen, Germany) and Kone Foundation (Finland) and is being commissioned by Fierce Festival (Birmingham, UK) and the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (Brighton, UK).There is often a cultural attempt to seek the whore’s phantasmatic innocence, unmasking her as a helpless victim, in order to redeem her, but also to mitigate the threat she might pose. Equally, there is a tendency to vilify that figure, exposing her of her unsavoury ways, and, historically, condemning her to death. Whether through redemption or punishment, her agency is stripped, reducing her to the powerless figure misogynist culture requires her to be. This is particularly relevant in a contemporary cultural setting, in which popular culture, social media, and neoliberal consumerism have significantly redefined the ways in which we relate to the female body, the concept of ‘the real me’, or ‘one’s true self’, and public shaming.

While at the Saari Residence, The Famous, Vuori and Davison will be exploring witchy rituals, monstrous behavior, and redemptive deaths, allowing the environment of the Residence to give rise to fresh ideas. These witch-bitches will be everywhere – twerking in the forest, instagram-ing from the depths of the sea, and conversing in tongues with the local sheep.


Since 2010, The Famous Lauren  Barri  Holstein has developed a substantial body of work (Splat!, How to Become a Cupcake, How 2 Become 1, Lady Love, Cherry Pop, Women are Pathetic and How to be Amazing) presented in Live Art, Dance, and Theatre contexts including The Barbican (London, UK), SPILL Festival (London, UK), In Between Time Festival (Bristol, UK), Fierce Festival (Birmingham, UK), Duckie (London, UK), Fresh AiR (London, UK), The Basement (Brighton, UK), FEM Fest (Girona, Spain), and Abrons Art Center (New York, U.S.), gaining respect and notoriety within the Live Art world  (‘Darling of the alternative performance scene’ – Time Out).

Her most prominent work to date, Splat!, commissioned by SPILL Festival of Performance, premiered as the opening of SPILL 2013 at The Barbican, London. It was named Time Out’s ‘Critic’s Choice in Dance’, one of Time Out’s ‘Must See Shows of 2013’, one of The Stage’s ‘Dance Picks of 2013’, and one of The Guardian’s ‘Theatre Picks’. A segment on Splat!, and The Famous’ wider practice, was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

The Famous holds a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London, and has lectured at various universities, including Chelsea College of Art, Laban Conservatory of Dance, and Iceland Academy of Arts. She has published several articles and book chapters in academic and journalistic contexts.