“Redress #5” is a two-hour performance, a manifestation of a continuous work that evolves and responds to site and current local/global situations. It developed out of my need to have a work that is constantly activated and ready to drop into site or place without long lead-in times and budget restrictions. It is a work that keeps me sane and engaged as a performance artist. It is a conduit for comprehending the world in which I find myself, a ritual that helps me digest and transform bigger complex issues in a very personal way. This work came out of my desire, as a performance maker, to address the problem of how the urgent need to perform or express an action does not always coincide with opportunities or relevant curatorial events. This work therefore has an element that can rely on myself alone to activate it wherever and whenever.
“Redress #5” is a response to our blood and the blood on our hands (metaphorically and literally), lineage and history—repeating. I seek to acknowledge the loss and mourning I feel at this time, right now, finally washing it away, erasing it in a gesture to move on. “Redress #5” attempts to remind us we are all human—flesh and blood, not labels and numbers. It is a recalibration.
In a white-walled room hangs a red dress, on the floor against a wall are two red buckets, muslin, red ribbon, chalk, bricks, vaseline, red face paint, a bandage, latex gloves, a red permanent marker, red tape, a large glass funnel and small glass beaker. I enter, take off my shoes and clothes and change into the red dress. Over the next two hours, I build brick towers, pour salt through a large glass funnel, imprint my face in salt piles, chalk the words ad nauseum, write the words corrigenda and hinc illae lacrimae on muslin and tape them to the wall, bandage my salt encrusted eyes, repeatedly wipe red paint from my lips, sit still, chalk the Latin translations “to be corrected” and “hence these tears” on the floor, immerse my hair in water and obliterate my imprinted face, hang the red dress back on the wall, change back into my clothes and leave.
The first time this was performed, it was as part of Dimanche Rouge #21, a live-streamed performance event over four hours across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Paris.