The performative video MILK was created during a residency at Pinea-Linea de Costa in the southern coastal town of Rota, Spain. I am seated in a tower once belonging to a convent that was the only built structure remaining after a tsunami devastated the town in the 1700’s. I chose this location because the tower is a symbol of what withstands, of what endures, in the face of disaster. The performance is transformative both visually and psychologically/emotionally as I slowly and with great concentration pour milk over my head. This literally and metaphorically nourishing, wholesome and pure material bathes my face, hair and garment. The performance is an attempt to connect with what is eternal, to purify, sustain and transcend.
Performative Video (live performance) 20 min. 2017
The video begins with a still image of two crystal vessels on the floor of a white space. The larger vessel is filled with a dark red wine. I am dressed in a draped white cloth and I enter from the left and slowly sits down behind the vessels. I take my time, breathe, then reach for the smaller vessel, dip it into the wine, and raise it to my mouth as if to drink. The wine spills down my chin and onto my garment. I repeat this action until all of the wine is gone from the larger vessel, slowly staining my face and garment, seeping through the cloth and ultimately pooling onto the floor.
This performance took place at the Tbilisi History Museum as part of “Living Room III” during “Artisterium 10” in Tbilisi.I was invited to work ‘in-situ’ responding to the site and collection.Located on the top floor of the museum, I discovered a large flower pot filled with soil and a tall thin pedestal within an arched alcove.Thinking about the problematics of preservation, display, ritual, and the passage of time, I engaged with these ‘found’ materials, soil from the land, pedestal used for exhibitions yet seemingly abandoned. My objective was to move, with slow concentrated repeated movement,all of the soil with my cupped hands, from the flower pot onto the pedestal; a caring, deliberate, yet futile gesture. Inevitably, the soil fell from the pedestal, spilling onto the floor creating a landscape of brown earth around the base of the pedestal and under my feet.The archway framed the scene and I was dressed in a futuristic gold sequined suit and red plastic gloves.I explored the expansion and contraction of time, shifting my perception of realty through presence.Slowing down my own movements, heightening my awareness of body, breath, materials, sounds, light, etc. I brought the viewer along with me as they too slowed down to witness.The performance ended when all of the soil had been moved out of the pot, onto the pedestal and floor.
I performed LINE, a site-specific durational piece at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine.Using the longest dimension of the building, I drew a straight line with sea salt from one end of the building to the other.Starting at one end of the line, holding a bare light bulb on a red 150’ extension cord connected to a power source, I walked as slowly as I could focusing on my breath and my movement.After two hours I had traveled 141’, 158 steps, to the other end of the building, where I stopped and brought the light up to my heart, then turned it off.My footprints and the red cord left a record of my walk, drawing into the salt.The performance took place at dusk, crossing darkened galleries, my light illuminating the darkness, the sequins and salt glittering.The meditative nature of the performance allowed the viewers to enter a quieter more reflective state.
Susan Bickford’s collaborative performative project at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, Maine was an afternoon long experience composed of a slow walk across farmland with moments of sound (voice, cello), movement (pushing a cart, walking, dance), and spinning wool along the way, down to the shore of a lake (performance in a grove of trees, canoes and in the water), then back to the art center for a community meal consisting of exclusively foraged local food. The 16 performers, who lived together and created the work over the course of four days, were all interested in developing presence and connection to the natural world and community. This was my solo moment during which I spun red wool, blood of the earth, as a continuous thread, in the field as the procession of performers and audience slowly passed by.