LIGHT BLUE BLUE LIGHT
DEAD ART STAR
In “light blue blue light,” I experimented with ways of accessing a dormant part of my identity. In 2010, I developed DEAD ART STAR, an online and live performance-based persona that explored the dark aspects of celebrity and ritual. Over time, indulging in this darkness affected my physical and mental health negatively, so I took a break from performing under this nom de guerre for nearly two years. Returning to performance art with this piece, I challenged myself to resurrect this older form of self-presentation while maintaining a sense of control over my identity.
The performance started as I extinguished all the lights in the room and created a runway out of thirty electronic tealight candles. I revealed one of my childhood stuffed animals: a light blue creature named Chiggles, who releases a series of electronic beeps that echo like laughter when activated by touch. In the center of the runway, I dropped to do push-ups, my face pressing into Chiggles, who laughed with each rep.
Afterward, I flipped on a clamp light, flooding the room in a light blue hue. Motivated by a dream where DEAD ART STAR’s ancient demonic spirit appeared to me underneath a mirror’s surface, I peered into a mirror with a flashlight, searching for the demon inside, and found nothing. It was time to resurrect my former persona. I invoked DEAD ART STAR by drawing the demon onto the mirror’s surface with white makeup and gargling cabernet sauvignon, which I slowly spat onto the mirror. I painted my face with thick, crude white marks, therefore embodying him.
I extinguished the lights again, leaving only the candles to light the room. Then I threatened audience members one by one, singling them out by pointing the flashlight directly into their faces as a line from Night of the Living Dead repeated over and over again from an audio recording (“They’re coming to get you, Barbara”).
Once the ceremony concluded, it was time to put the demon to sleep, which I enacted by tucking him under a blanket of wigs. As I rested under the blanket, I clutched Chiggles, who laughed periodically, until the audience realized the performance was over and, one by one, moved on. In performing this symbolic act, I asserted control over DEAD ART STAR: I can decide when to use this persona and when to put it to bed.