"SOFT FOR SHOP"
Curated by Eames Armstrong
“Softer Softest” was curated by Eames Armstrong at Delicious Spectacle in Washington DC.
The show featured 2d,3d and performance work that reflected on the nature of softness. The live works were scheduled the weekend following the opening. I created a performance that resonated with notions of softness as they relate to issues of comfort in our society. I was inspired by the funny feeling that our success driven culture seeks to obtain the ultimate softness, comfort.
The event coincided with DC Pride Festival and after lengthy taxi ride I arrived to a beautiful urban home in a cute neighborhood. The professional gallery was situated in the first two rooms of the two story house with ample space and a small patio in the back. Everything about what was on and coming off the walls was soft, the colors, the materials and the techniques utilized. I was of course too anxious mapping out the performance now that I was seeing the space for the first time so I didn’t spend too much with the works on display.
I began my performance descending the wooden stairs in stilettos. Click Click..Click. I wore a head/face dress made out of hundreds of silver pussy willow catkins (covering my entire face except for two eye holes) and a large spherical garment made out of scores of white organza bits and other found materials that covered my entire body with two protruding “would be arms” (made of wrapped curly willow faggots) held various plastic shopping bags. Like bags caught on tree branches.
Click.Click..Click. I could hear a rustling of joyful and tipsy voices. By the time I reached the gallery landing there was a dead silence in the entire space with 30 or 40 people quietly observing me. I stood for a second and then continued on to the works on the wall, quietly observing each one of them. Quietly mocking our societal viewing rituals. I made many rounds around both gallery rooms in what I’ll call ‘a fashion walk’ until I finally collapse on the floor. Now just a pile of white fabric. I transform under the costume and emerge from the white organza wearing a red headdress with the pussy willow mask over it, exposing red eyes from the eye holes. This time my entire face is under multiple head/face dresses and I am left without vision except when looking down to the floor. I am wearing a white coat that resembles a wedding dress and from one of the plastic shopping bags I pull out a shiny diamond ring that I bought at the dollar store and put it on my finger and show it off. I stand up and after some stumbling and close encounters with the work in the show I make it to the second room where I slowly find the center of the room and kneel down in a seiza inspired manner for the remainder of my performance. Everyone present rushed into the room in excitement and stays with me in complete silence for 45 minutes. Viewers stumbled in throughout the performance. And collectively we knew the end of the performance was near while in complete silence, the voice of a young child going for a stroll in the neighborhood asked from outside presumably to a parent “What are they doing in there?”. The question and the realization/answer that we were all gathered together in silence, alone with our thoughts and witnessing performance art broke out in a joyful uproar in the gallery.
[this performance was performed once]