THE GHOST OF YOU IS WHAT HAUNTS ME
ERIC ANTHONY BERDIS
The audience sits among a single row circle of chairs facing each other. The only light sources come from a sculpture in the center of the seating arrangement. The sculpture is an altered lamp, with an embellished cloth as the shade. The cloth is both humorful and ghostly as it is sequined with beading to create an eerie smile. The performance begins as I undress, exposing my queer body with nothing but a headlamp, sharpie, and underwear. I begin to establish a rule—using my clothes as stepping stones to make it to the light source. I place the altered lampshade onto my head and return to the perimeter of chairs. I am very cautious not to touch the floor. As I sit in the chair like a gargoyle peering over the audience, I greet each member of as a participant with a smile. Moving clockwise around the room, I crawl over the first audience members lap, apologizing “that the floor is lava,” and ask them to draw something on my face with the sharpie I have kept close. As I move to the next audience member, I ask the first to write their name on my back. I continue this action, circling around the audience, stopping to catch my breath and gaze at the room. The gaze is unsettling as my face turns from a smile to a frown. The headlamp on my face exaggerates my expression. I continue to accumulate drawings and names on my body, until I reach the last person. At this point in the performance, my body is sweaty and fatigued from the awkward maneuvering around the audience. My presence is far from ghostly, but I jockey around the space. Again using my clothes as islands, I make my way around to the lamp in the middle of the circle. I wrestle to return the lampshade to its original position and turn the lamp off. As the headlamp illuminates my steps, I redress and again return to my seat in the circle. The headlamp clicks off and the performance ends in darkness.