project image
Ilona Bito

first performed on January 1, 2016
House Fest, Brooklyn, NY
performed twice in 2016


Brooklyn, NY


“FUR EVER” was about making a “fool” out of myself/sensationalizing my foolishness to claim authority over my body (of work), letting it go, and reckoning with the estranged state of a familial relationship. I sank into the foolish in order to investigate uses and spaces of disorientation and instability. It was in direct response to a loved one’s distressing and questionably homophobic response to representations of my work on social media. I was remorseful that someone I loved very much could respond in this way, I was sad for/about/because of them, and I decided to create a performance soundtracked by voicemails they had sent me about my work.

I created a social media account called “FUR EVER.” I then installed myself in the physical performance space for an hour and half, inviting the audience to cover me in psychedelic fur by cutting up bright colored hair extensions and applying it with a mix of cornstarch and corn syrup. After getting covered in this “fur,” I spoke to the audience about how this piece came to be, milling around the space and performing embarrassing and impulsive actions, while voicemails from my loved one scolded me and my work played loudly over a sound system.

I addressed the audience, constantly reiterating that this wasn’t a performance for them, but for social media. I asked them to take pictures of me and post them to the “FUR EVER” social media account. Their pictures and videos were projected throughout the performance. I showed my asshole in the light of the projector, the audience captured photographs of me diving over their bodies and then suspended my body in the air … a lot of the performance was a blur.

Overall, the audience was laughing and responsive to the work as a sort of absurd eulogy for love. I think it’s important to note the communal experience of this performance. As much as it was me embarrassing myself, the audience responded with reflections on subjects including considerations of being a community of artists, and the vulnerabilities of exposing their work and themselves to family and to the world.

I wasn’t seeking further estrangement, but understanding, and the piece was a screwed up way of dealing with my screwed up feelings. I tried to soften some of the estrangement by reaching out to this loved one to co-create a future performance. We eventually did, kind of … I think it helped.