“Dawdle” is a performative mind-map of desire employing, among other things, cinder blocks, dawdling dildos and pop songs buried in soil.
I’ve been working on this project since January 2013, after receiving an invitation to participate in a panel about the topic of desire as part of the festival Transmedial that took place in Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. In the first performance of a part of the project, “Eier haben” (“to have guts” in German), I created a performance where small vibrators were spreading everywhere in the grand auditorium of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. From this first incarnation, I developed a solo performance called “Dawdle” that I’ve performed in Europe during the year 2013. While “Eier haben” was more a patchwork of several perceptions of desire (different performers and different media), “Dawdle” functions as an organism. Each action refers to the others and there is no concrete end to the performance. The sound of the vibrators hidden in the cinderblock will transform when they loudly spread into the space. The soil that I use to lessen the impact of the cinderblock that I let fall down also works to damp the love songs coming from a small ghetto blaster in the middle of the space. My main action is to slowly push this amount of soil on the floor. My body merges with the heap and fluctuates the sound level of the songs depending on the pressure I give to it. Once gone, the space is full of small installations that continue to live and refer to themselves.
“Dawdle” is strongly engaged with feminism and has developed further each time I’ve performed it. The piece has led me to investigate my female body in performance. Even decontextualized and thus emptied from their designed functions, the presence of the tiny manufactured objects (the dildos) indicate discourses that influence the artist’s presence and the perception of the work. I’ve received diverse feedback; some people have been supportive, and others have been sexist and confrontational. My investigative process in developing “Dawdle” helped me and fellow artist Katie Lee Dunbar to conceptualize our Berlin-based female collective called Dealing with Normative Gaze in Performance Art.