project image
Dimitios Phillis

first performed on August 18, 2020
Together We Can: Rehab Facility
performed once in 2020


Dimitrios Phillis (camera work), Ashton Price (audio engineer)

Evan Tyler - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dimitrios Phillis - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada . Ashton Price - Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


“Tissue Paper Heart’’ is a performance for video produced in August, 2020 as a cry for help while living as a resident in an addictions treatment center in Vancouver, Canada. The impulse to make this work spawned from the aftermath of a disabling and transformative heartbreak; in the dust of burning an entire life down while in active heroin addiction/drug psychosis; in immediate response to a suicide attempt; during the premature steps in rebuilding a livable world from scratch—both internally and externally. While it’s true the process of making this artwork accesses visual language as a therapeutic tool to process lived reality, it is equally verifiable the work was anchored by a deeper motive in presenting the volume and seriousness of the artist’s suffering to an audience of their peers. That audience included the ex-lover who inspired such feelings of heart sickness and sorrow.

The viewer watches the artist perform for the camera while seated on the edge of their bed in a residential rehab. The performance functions as visual wallpaper to host a monologue that verbally explores narrations and poetics describing the reliability of heartbreak as a sustained traveller amongst the only other known constants such as death and uncertainty. Heartbreak has the ability to change shape—much like grief (a key component in its chemical makeup); a reliable sentient force in the face of constant environmental flux. For the duration of the piece, a sequence of audio and visual effects cycle through while the artist deconstructs and plays with a floral arrangement; smoke bubbles amass in the space for them to encounter/interact with. While distorted transmissions, changes in audio texture, and filtered output represent the ever-fluctuating and uncertain nature of a lived life, the cloak of heartbreak described through the spoken word is inescapable and offers the most delicate and fragile conditions to host or engage with these external and internal fluctuations.

This work suffers with an inherent narcissism born of its intention to manipulate or appeal to the emotions of those closest to the artist. Although a wider audience might relate to the intensity of heartbreak and the dark shadow-traveller born of its powers, the artwork will always be bound to the selfish desire to control a relational narrative and outcome. In respects to the artist and their ex-lover it is possible this artwork furthers the damage between two hearts.