I recently did a performance at the Black Hole Cinematheque in West Oakland. After developing a correspondence with Tooth Kaminsky (who does a lot of the programming over at Black Hole) over the past couple of months, he invited me to present my work at some point. Upon being asked to cat-sit for a friend, I used that as an opportunity to develop a new project, something I haven't really done in over two years, since that disastrous performance I presented at Future Studio Gallery as part of Virgin Mary Chainsmoking on the Beach which temporarily made my mom somewhat of a pariah (I wrote something else in response to that, which maybe I'll post later).
Having been greatly affected by two recent pieces of work by two incredibly brilliant friends of mine, I asked them both to collaborate/participate in whatever I was planning on doing.
Posted here is a post-performance e-mail to Tooth from I, photo documentation and the video component of the performance, in addition to a link to the piece my beloved and brilliant friend Mike Kitchell read, as well as links to my other beloved and brilliant friend-and main collaborator in this instance-Jarrod W.'s SoundCloud and the Flickr of the equally beloved and brilliant Sam Ashcraft, who was kind enough to photograph.
hey tooth:i don't know if you noticed, but my hand caught on fire that night. it was really subtle and i don't think anyone really saw it, but it happened and it stopped my heart for a second. i think jarrod w.'s music and being wet and topless and nothing going the way it was supposed to go distracted everyone else from it. it's fine and i think being in a slightly dissociative state and also being drunk really suppressed any pain. the heat melted my nail polish, which then burned my nail beds and now my cuticles look like shit.
i was in a lot of pain that week i was up there. i'd spent the night before crying and the night before that really crying really hard-like rolling around silently because my friend was asleep in the next room and i wasn't into them knowing that i was having an awful time. there is something to me that is really embarrassing but also fundamental i think to understanding my practice: that if the people i love- or the person that i love-doesn't get it, then it probably isn't worth doing. i don't know if that is actually what i'm saying. but i'm pretty deeply in love with someone who i met during possibly the most tumultuous time in my life, and i met them immediately before they themselves performed.
the fact that they and i were in this flatland of a purgatory the whole time i was in the bay area bothered me a lot. it was my first performance in over two years, and they didn't see it. i kept easing in and out of hyper-consciousness and being able to see myself and watch myself-cutting my bra off was definitely a "what is happening to me where am i and why am i here i need to do something to be present" moment. as i tore everything apart, i was feeling like the performance wasn't anywhere near evocative of how i had originally intended it to go at all; at least, that was how i felt until my hand caught on fire.
i'm not sure really what the performance was really about. there was a lot of imagery from my childhood, a scary time for me: lace curtains, fake flowers, religious candles, a chicken. fire. an explosion at a duplex my grandmother owned killed a little girl my own age twenty years ago, and all that was left was her hand. i think it might have been what i imagined doing to my own body-tearing myself apart and self-immolating, then imagining my skeleton wrapping itself in the ashes of my flesh and then swimming.
swimming is an important mourning and cleansing practice. i wish i did it more. i'd really like to live by the ocean/sea one day and swim every morning instead of taking a shower-just have one long cry in the waves and imagine my snot and tears mixing with salt and everyone else's piss and the essence of everything dead and alive from the bottom to the within. one of the stipulations of my will states that part of my ashes are to be scattered in the los angeles river and the other part over the golden gate bridge on the bay side-close to those rocks that look like witchy, rotten fingernails and the water is still and tri-colored, like some sort of easter tundra (i think it's like that because it's where the bay and the ocean meet, just like how there are heron where the ocean and the river meet). both of those are illegal, but my other option-to be buried in a shroud in the chaparral somewhere-is even more illegal. something having to do with ground water, i think.
i used to imagine my best friend-a girl with whom i highly suspect i may actually be in love with, but i think more in the victorian letter writing sense-dying, and the thought alone would devastate me. i'd then continue to imagine myself asking her parents for time with her body, and i'd surround her body with sliced onions, so i could weep as i wailed. i'd bathe her with those tears. i'd then cut off all of my hair and my clothing and burn them, and just wrap myself in those ashes. after, i'd lie down next to her for maybe twenty-four hours, and just hold her hand.
often, i wouldn't be able to sleep for a few days after thinking this up.
thank you for that message. i'm sorry that i've taken so long to respond to it. the whole week i was up there was really fundamental in how i believe i want to continue as a person and as an artist. i felt incredibly strange as a part of that show: i didn't feel welcome necessarily, but i think that has to do more with my sense of relative discomfort around new people and this sensation of always being in a different dimension from them-a kind of accidental hubris, i imagine. i was incredibly inspired by the other performances and i absolutely loved yours, which i've been thinking about a lot down here. i wish i had some sort of recording of the sound that the reels made.