BECOMING BARONESS; BECOMING DADA
REX REGINALD THE FOURTH SECOND
The performance took place during The Hugo Ball: A DADA Centennial Soiree, which was part of a show I helped to curate at Rhizome. The purpose of the show was to celebrate a movement that still reverberates today. We asked participants to reimagine early Dada art. We had several local artists perform or display their visual art.
I chose to do a performance that would truly push my comfort levels as a performer, and even more those of any spectator. The artist I chose, who goes by The Baroness, is most known for her outlandish performances and outfits. She would walk nude along the streets of New York City wearing only Saran Wrap and found trash. Even by today’s standards, she would be considered daring. I admire her ability to fully embrace dadaism and to show resilience in the face of the oppressive patriarchy. In our current political climate, it definitely feels like a 100-year-old storm is about head straight towards us again, since we haven’t learned the lesson. I embrace disillusionment and absurdity in all my artwork, but for The Baroness there was no holding back.
I started my performance upstairs at a DIY gallery while the crowd lingered downstairs. Then the crowd of 35 or so started to walk up the stairs to see me hovering over a ready made, titled “H.C.O.O.Q.,” which consisted of a red, white, and blue toilet with a manikin of Trump in a suit sprawled out with his head on his throne. Wearing a flowing white dress and a strappy bondage bra covered in nipple buttons, I let out a loud scream and then retched loudly and repeatedly, until I pulled a scroll from the base of the toilet. I cried out the opening lines from the poem “Ancestry”: “MY MOTHER SINNED AGAINST ME—FOR HAVING MADE ME—HER HEIR—WHICH WAS BRILLIANT—BUT INSUFFICIENT.” As I read the scroll, I leaned back on my knees and stroked myself violently under my dress. I yelled, howled, moaned, groaned, and jacked off with anal beads until I finished shouting out the scroll. Finally, I had an explosive orgasm with a flogger all over the Trump manakin’s back. I laid there on the floor in a moment of release from the ruins of reality and into the ridiculousness of a reimagined reality.