LILY 2 SPACE DOG
MOLLY Q HASTINGS
This performative lecture was written in 2018 after I adopted a small terrier dog named Lily 2. At the time, I was researching the histories of Russian space dogs and came upon one story with some unfinished threads. It was that of Strelka the space dog who birthed puppies in a lab, of Krushchev and JFK exchanging gifts, of one gift-dog having puppies with another White House dog, of my great-great-grandfather inventing a missile guidance technology for the US military, of children of America writing letters to the president asking for a dog. It was a story of imperialism braided into the lives of several canines.
The lecture began with an investigation into Lily 2’s speculative ancestors, namely Strelka, who entered Earth’s orbit and returned safely. She had puppies with another space dog, Pushok. I traced their family tree as far into the future as I could, examining where this timeline intertwined with the events of the Cold War. Through that narrative I unearthed my own family’s history of violent innovation (discovered while doing this research). The lecture then devolved into an interrogation of pedigree and lineage, which at times got fairly emotional. At this point, I called into question my initial urge to locate my dog in a lineage of power, and took a moment to reconsider.
“Lily 2 Space Dog” was performed with a projector and a chalkboard, showing photos on the former and drawing familial connections on the latter. My costume consisted of a grey blazer, white button up, and red tie.
I hope that in engaging this material through performance, I can destabilize the possible commodification of the work. I am not looking to have it consumed, particularly. It was made in an effort to process inherited complicity, and in performing “Lily 2 Space Dog” in front of people I trust, I found that my own emotional processing moved into a somatic realm.