“Implied Home” is a performance that serves to address the issues surrounding zoos and related sites of imprisonment for humans and animals. Taking place inside a narrow art display case, “Implied Home” was a direct response to readings and discussions on the ethics of factory farming, primate research, the housing of zoo animals, and more. Preceding the performance my mind raced as I became nervous, as the only thing planned was to be inside the “cage.” But for how long? And doing what? I didn’t know.
Dressed in a see-through, nude leotard, with afro-extensions placed into a mohawk, I climbed into the display case and laid down. In front of me was a white bowl filled with water and a small white plate stacked with matted chunks of my natural hair. The cage was filled with a soft, textured, black fabric, and I looked out through plexiglass; across from me were two elevators. The cage was my home, for however long I was going to be in there.
I started by laying down, moving slowly, and periodically looking out to a sometimes empty hallway. Students and faculty would peer into my domain as the elevator doors opened, allowing even the unwilling participants a glance. As the crowd grew around me, I could feel a dozen eyes staring at me with expressions ranging from terror to amazement. Staring outward, I would periodically lock eyes with a viewer and refuse to let go. When I became thirsty I slurped my water from the dish with my tongue, and as I imagined becoming hungry, I took a bite of my hair and slowly, reversed the action, pulling the hair out in a long, wet-strand. Now, having a large audience, I tried turning around in the cage but it was too thin. My knee bowed the plexiglass, creating a tension that both myself, and the viewer could feel, intensely. Once the moment passed, I discreetly pushed a pile of extensions down the front of my leotard. My movement was now increasingly restricted.
Performance is a way to detach from my everyday self and enter an alternate self. For me, the artwork is the process in which I prepare and become obsessive in my pursuits to understand ideas and problems.