project image
Annika Berry

first performed on January 2, 2019
online (documentation exhibited in March, 2019 at Open White Gallery, Berlin, Germany), Berlin, Germany and Brooklyn, NY (simultaneously)
performed once in 2019



Brooklyn, NY


“Good to see a video of you, so that I can believe all that happened is really true, and not a dream.”

  • Matthias

“my american girl” is a collaborative performance of fantasy by a German man (Matthias) and an American woman (myself). Our correspondence began on Berlin Craigslist, where Matthias was “looking for an American Girl” years after a cross-continental relationship disintegrated and left him with a feeling of longing. When I met Matthias, I was also filled with longing for a past relationship I’d had with a man living in Berlin. Matthias and I began corresponding with one another as placebo lovers, inserting each other into real histories and rewriting past narratives, transforming our loss into a collective love object.

Our relationship began as an email correspondence, then melded into a series of videos sent back and forth. With no hierarchy in place defending reality, our conversations dismantled traditional power structures between the lover and the beloved, the artist and the muse, the author and her subject, and fiction and nonfiction. “MY AMERICAN GIRL” proposes fantasy as an alternative to an embodied or psychological experience of separation.

With each video, we advanced the performance, obliging the other to remember specific moments we’d never shared, along with sensations of touch, sadness, joy, strain, and warmth: authentic emotions rarely conjured between strangers online.

“I miss you. Remember the wall beside the water on that one island, where I lay my head in your lap?”

“I remember that island. You liked it when I brought you there because you’d only ever spent time on land.”