project image
Joanna Matuszak

first performed on October 19, 2013
Bridgeview Bank, Chicago, IL
performed twice in 2013


Chicago, IL


The Queen of Luxuria’s philosophy is to create interactive performances that are transformative for the public. The Queen of Luxuria employs a queer/kitsch aesthetic to explore ideas of equality while employing interactive performances to question patriarchal systems and modes of being. In the performance “Unto Each Their Own Safe + More,” the audience was invited to leave the Bridgeview Bank with greater wealth than they had upon entering. The performance highlighted the inequities between men, women and differently gendered people in terms of financial earnings and how this might relate to general well-being. The performance was structured through games mimicking our current economic construct.

There were three stations where the Queen’s performers invited members of the public to play a game. All of the games were built by The Queen of Luxuria and reflected the architectural interior of the bank. Included were a chess set, a Jenga-style stacking game and an optical game inspired by Duchamp. After successfully engaging in these games, the participants were awarded with a hand painted Queen Card that invited the participant to visit with The Queen of Luxuria.

The Queen of Luxuria wrote each participant a check after evaluating their income and how happy or sad they felt in life and at work. She also calculated the discrepancy in income earned by males, females, and trans people. For example, she asked women participants how many years they had been working, then multiplied that number by $27,000 in order to take into account the fact that women on average earn 73 cents to every dollar earned by a male. If someone earned under $80,000, she would add the difference because, according to The Queen of Luxuria, $80,000 should be a minimum wage.

As The Queen of Luxuria, I devised this interactive performance as a series of games that would reveal the systemic inequities pervasive in our economy. I collated the data from this performance and will be using it to create another work of art that will reveal and highlight the deep inequality women, minorities and the marginalized struggle with today. Through The Queen of Luxuria, I promote the celebration of diversity and bring to light life’s many injustices using humor and interactive experience.