“Geyser” is a song by musician Mitski which confounded me at first. I thought, “She doesn’t seem to me, from her other work, like the type of person to stay pining for someone who has rejected her time and again.” So when she said in an interview that “Geyser” was actually about her relationship to music, or art, it made so much sense.
You’re my number one/ You’re the one I wanted, I/ Have turned down/ Every hand that has beckoned me/ To come.
Now that was something I could relate to. My performance “Geyser” was about the sacrifices we as artists under capitalism in the US make for our craft. The sacrifice to time, money, relationships, and often, our health. Where does this drive in us to create come from, and is it worth pursuing at this cost?
I began the performance by telling the story of an argument I had with a childhood best friend about a boy we both liked. It culminated in my friends dragging me across the courtyard to ask the boy which one of us he liked better. Naturally, he said her (or there would be no story and, no performance). After this the situation delved into a four-day saga wherein I managed to name and befriend four sticks stuck in a pole holding up a seesaw.
I was angry at my friends and rejected by my crush, but these sticks—I would visit and talk to them every day. Everyone thought this was very strange, including me, but somehow, it also made sense. When the sticks disappeared I felt their loss.
After relaying this story with movement and audience participation I got out a twelve pack box of passionfruit La Croix. I attempted to drink all the cans two thirds of the way through, then place them slanted balancing on the ground like kids do for fun. When it proved too difficult to finish them all by myself, I enlisted the audience’s help.
With the very last can I got out a toothbrush and began brushing my teeth as “Geyser” played from speakers. The toothpaste fizzed in my mouth and I began spitting it on the ground.
I will be the one you need/ I just can’t live/ Without you
The piece ended with the word ART spelled out on the ground, me laying down alongside to cover up a mistake.