I TAKE YOUR HAND
I created “I Take Your Hand” when I was seven months pregnant and performed it with my lover as a way to reflect on the major change in our relationship as we expected our first baby.
I made two partial nude suits to be worn like bolero tops for the performance. The suits had one “normal” gloved arm, while the other arm was stuffed and extended fifteen yards with a hand at the end. When coiled, the suits resemble soft nests or bulging bodies with numerous tummy rolls.
The performance took place at “Flash in the Pan,” an intimate event in a Queens apartment, curated by LoBo Gallery. I set one coiled suit in the living room and one upstairs to have as much distance as possible from each other at the start of the performance.
I undressed to my underwear in front of the guests while Alex undressed upstairs. Feeling exposed and vulnerable with my naked bulging belly, I walked into my coiled nest and put it on. I wanted the heavy rolls of the suit to simultaneously hide and exaggerate my own growing body. On a sweltering July evening during a midsummer heatwave, I had to hoist and drag the weight of the heavy suit, adding it to the extra weight I was already carrying.
With our long arms stretching along the floor through multiple rooms, Alex and I met at the center of the apartment and began to wrap them around each other. The more we wrapped, the more difficult it became. It soon became impossible to see, and we had to communicate when we were passing a length of arm to be coiled around our bodies. Guests would help us when our arms became too constricted and we couldn’t reach.
Eventually, we came to an imperfectly coiled hug, with tangled loops of arms falling to the floor around our ankles. The untangling took even more communication. “Pass it over my left, no, your left, you got it? Yes, that’s it, step over, wait, wait, one more, be careful…”
As we untangled at the bottom of the stairs, someone yelled out, “One more hug!” The room responded with laughter. I dragged my arm back to the living room and loosely recoiled it as I put my clothes back on.