HAG / JASMIN RISK & CLARA LIPFERT
“Parasite” used the figure of the parasite to think about gendered discursive and epistolary relations. It came about when J.P. Marin, a writer and musician, wrote HAG a Facebook message expressing interest in a salon we were curating themed around parasites.
We were excited that someone was taking interest in what we were doing and sent him an article by Anna Watkins Fisher, the theorist who first spurred our interest in the figure of the parasite, in order to better contextualize our thinking for him. He sent back a very long response that disseminated the strains of theory and cultural production that Fisher touches on. When we met him in person, we were disappointed to find that he was very patronizing. He talked over us and seemed to assume that, as an older man, he knew more about political theory and art criticism than college girls. Immediately afterwards, we felt grossed out, and we conceived of this performance as a response, perhaps as a kind of bullying.
The performance consisted of the two of us sitting across from each other wearing school girl outfits, alternating between fellating a dildo and reading the response that J.P. had sent us. The essential thing here was that we did not attribute the text to him; the intent was for the audience to assume that we had written it. Thus, this constituted a kind of stealing, or parasitism. We occasionally interrupted this reading with questions like “Daddy, will you buy me a dress?” or “Daddy, will you buy me a drink?” Next, we took off our clothes and began messily applying makeup to each other’s faces in the manner of a young child playing with her mother’s cosmetics, during which time a recording of the text played.
The performance ended with us chewing up the printed text, spitting it out and giving it to male members of the audience. The schoolgirl outfits, the “Daddy” questions and the childish makeup application all represented our desire to render literal J.P.’s patronizing engagement with us, to literally infantilize ourselves.