THE MORNING PAGES
I was invited to create a performance for an annual festival held in Chinatown organized by Paige Wery, Lee Lynch and Doug Harvey. I was given a basement to use as my performance space that was bisected into two rooms by a wall. To activate both areas, I sawed a kitchen table in half and placed either end in each room under a waist-sized hole. During the performance, I inserted my naked body through the hole so that, from the waist down, I was in one room while my top half occupied the other. During the performance, I spoke into a muzzle attached to a funnel mounted above my torso, projecting my voice over my lower half and into the opposite room. Over seven hours, I read from approximately 200 pages I had written as part of a daily writing devotional. I had not reread these writings before the performance. Without my knowledge, art-goers could first inspect my genitals and listen to my writing before entering the second room to view my top half.
In this performance, I embedded my body in the walls of the space. As in my installation work, I was interested in exploiting garden-variety orientation of built spaces, in particular here, the distinct front and back of a wall. More than practical, choices we make while moving through a space can reflect and communicate codes of conduct, especially when the space is used to host social events. I strategically positioned myself in the basement according to a set of choices I imaged the audience having to make. Do I look at him? And for how long? How do I hide my reaction? How do I communicate my reaction? Do I look on the other side?
Most visitors were very cautious, confused and or mocking. One particularly daring guest, breathed onto my penis and licked it several times, but very quickly. I am interested in the range of responses to the situation I created, but to the extent of needing proof that what I did meant something. Overall, the gesture reflected the physical and psychic distance I feel between my head and my sex. In this work, rather than imagining a would-be agent, bridging the gap, I chose to eroticize distance to illustrate a conflicted presence.