Performed as part of FADO’s emerging artist series, 11:45. Curated by Kate Berry. X-Space Cultural Center, Toronto. 2014.
digestion/liquidation regards two possible meanings of the word digest:
- To assimilate material mentally or physically (verb)
- A comprehensive and systematic compilation of information or material often condensed.(noun)
I work with these meanings in tandem by committing two tasks that unfold simultaneously but at separate paces.
1. I remove my dress and I soak it in milk. I put it back on, dripping. I repeat this action every time the second action is done. I use milk because its nutritious attributes are questionable. It is white, silky and from the breast of Mother, but when it is warm and crusting on my body it is foul. It is processed, pumped with hormones and usually makes me bloated. I was allergic to my own mother’s milk. I leave myself enough time to cease dripping and to assimilate the complexity of my desire to commit this action before I resolve to do it again.
2. I record a 60-minute cassette of me repeating each of the following set of words:
yes/you do/good/please/ body/my favourite.
In total I make six cassettes.
The single word, repeated, acts as a constant variable in an experiment. By some means I have created a situation where the repeated word is also the manipulated variable. It is manipulating itself. One word is felt and understood in infinite ways. Side by side, each utterance compares their meanings, distinguished in tone and breath. Meaning is lost and then found again. The word ceases to be English. I feel the word to be the guttural syllable of a lost language. Here, I locate the epitome of multidimensional signage that I seek in my work’s process. When I repeat the word over and over for 60 minutes, I tell all the stories I have to tell. When I listen back my stories become very far away in time and space. I have emptied (liquidated) myself.
Photos by Henry Chan.