MASS MARKET BOOKS
“Mass Market Books” is an interactive installation/performance that explores how gender and taste affect how and what we read. Functioning like a tarot reading, I enter dressed as a gender neutral psychic, and converse with audience members about their literary habits. I then choose passages and read them personalized excerpts from Danielle Steel and James Patterson novels, writers at the poles of gendered fiction. Together, the audience and I interpret the text, sometimes a sex scene, sometimes a touching familial moment, sometimes a detective hot on the case, and I predict their future. By framing mass market literature as potentially sublime, the performance—at times funny, at others perversely moving—questions how arbitrary our talismans are, and whether any text, when presented in a certain context, can deliver profound beauty.