HOLY BLOOD COMMUNION
“Holy Blood Communion” went on throughout Lemuria: Performance Art Party, a one-night program at Black Whiskey that played with the intersection of religious rituals and the rituals of bar, club and popular culture. I was dressed as a nurse and had ten blood bags set before me behind the bar. Each bag had a standard blood type label on it with different religious leader’s names on them. I would ask the patrons if they would like to join me in communion with the leader of their choice. I only required them to clear their mind of impure thoughts and repent their sins. They then had to confirm their faith that this blood was the true blood of the person that they chose. I then took one of the two large injection needles attached to my belt and filled it up with the blood and shot it into their mouths. As we ended our individual communion, they would be asked to bow down and call out the name of the leader they just ingested. I would remind them that, if they were not satisfied, they may come back and try another.
This performance combined the traditions of solidarity performed in my upbringing at church services with the services provided in my adulthood at the bar. In my childhood, I struggled to obey each restriction that my religion placed upon me. I was told I was reborn into this new life of salvation and had certain expectations to adhere to. These expectations were furthered by my parent’s decision to name me Renee, which is said to mean “rebirth.” Coming into adulthood brings many questions about the validity of one spiritual truth over another. In this performance, I displayed each religion as equally valid and supreme in their powers of purification. The medical approach only emphasized the absurdity of the necessity of believing that it was the true blood and body of Christ that I had ingested ritualistically growing up. The bar is my altar now, and all the other patrons come to worship the altered state of mind that the gods of intoxication bring to us. To go from believing the only truth was written in the pages of a book to now believing the only truth comes from the bottom of a bottle is what it is like to grow up.