For many artists/writers, research is necessary to comprehend exactly what the government regards as having value or constitutes a necessary expense for one’s listed occupation on income tax forms… or what qualifies as a deduction.
Instead of the usual solitary ritual of sifting through a year’s worth of goods and services, I embarked on a performance intended to move this private act (performed at home) to a public place (a city park). The move was physically metaphoric, intended to break the cocoon of tax prep privacy.
Sitting cross-legged on the grass near a tree at El Marino Park, I began to sort through a collection of boxed receipts, removing one paper document at a time, placing each on the lawn—attempting a logic, an arrangement. In this action, a complexity of pondering ensued: first, the memory or re-living of the original purchase/request, conjuring a filmic scene in my mind; followed by questions regarding each receipt—its category within lawful confines.
inner monologue: (as park visitors walked by)
sense’s census. cents spent. tactile, paper receipts, durational... interior archive of memories—what did you receive? what was it worth? can you absolutely categorize a creative life? of commerce? of consumer or being consumed? an individual in numbers, dollars and cents? collage of inventory, private made public... are receipts autobiography?
Arranged on the lawn, spaces between paper receipts began to resemble mortar lines, if each receipt was a brick…odd-shaped bricks are challenging to cement together for a unifying structure. The concrete becomes temporal, temporary—a year passes, records of monetary existence stored away, eventually tossed.
The outcome was open-ended, as a life still to live/perform. Receipts were placed in labeled envelopes—difficult to abstain from commodifying one’s art when a tax code leans in this direction.
I purchased no supplies for this performance piece. Or, I purchased a year of goods and services to create this piece.