SOONERING: PRIOR TO THE STOPPING POINT
“Soonering: Prior to the Stopping Point” was a 24-hour performance, six hours in four parts: arrival/colonization, protection/posturing, domesticating, vacating. The first of the four parts began at 9am inside Open House as I unloaded my truck and installed vignettes throughout the space, uttering phrases and utilizing performance materials from texts and films about the west. During the second six hours, I sat outside on the porch in a lawn chair, questioning viewers and watching them as they investigated the installations inside my “claimed” quarters. I also drank, and ate a steak named after a local gallery owner with visitors as the sun went down. During the fourth part, I set up camp on the porch and slept while holding three toy guns and two stuffed ponies. At 3 am on September 2, I was given a letter from the curators telling me to vacate the premises by 9 am. I packed my goods into my truck during that time, re/making and un/packing the installations I created, dancing to Dire Straights and sobbing. By 9 am, I was on the road back to Oklahoma.
Viewers were encouraged to enter the space, stay, leave, and return as they please. While performing, I was and was not receptive/responsive to viewers, and moved in and out of interaction, contemplation, and the performance composition. The Sooner is a: pioneer, land-grabber, fighter, villain, hero, racist, misogynist, queer, loner, outcast, cowboy, landowner, entrepreneur, thief, liar, investor, and (pro)specter.
The performance juxtaposed Soonering as a contemporary condition of American capitalism against a term for people in the 1800s in Oklahoma, a force behind American Exceptionalism. Sooners anticipated, a feeling located in a present body regarding the future. Collapsing this term with the suffix “ing” suggests a futural condition that is constantly affecting the present. The performance operated within a continuum of mythologies/impacts that were built at the turn of the century and remain within the American psyche today. The durational performance aimed to unpack these linguistic/spatial anachronisms seamlessly through the speaking and performing body, activating language and composition that delves into American imagery and aesthetics.