“Stockholm Syndrome” is part of an ongoing series of works in which I seek to challenge accepted/enforced behaviours in normative social space (including traditional performance contexts) and address my own desire to stay “inside” my work and my body throughout a performance.
I became dissatisfied and disillusioned with the conditions of stage performance and “relational” public art (as recognized, sanctified, and sanitized by neoliberal cultural policy). Working in these areas I had become an entertainer, acting out a charade of transgression from within tightly controlled margins. Although I sought a way to the ecstatic “other side” made possible by the sacred safe-space of the stage, I often found myself “performing authenticity” much as one fakes an orgasm. At best I see performance as a form of contemporary shamanism-a catharsis of embodiment both for performer and audience alike. It’s the performer’s prerogative to traverse the risky underworld and spirit realm, or their contemporary Jungian equivalents, the subconscious and the dream-state, to expose and manifest the “sickness of the community” in order to exorcise or transform it. This need not necessarily be either pretty or pleasurable. This also applies to public art: while we are required to perform as functional citizens (machine-like, obedient), any instance of “acting out” in public space speaks of a utopian desire to occupy the world with one’s body beyond the received set of permissions granted by social-spatial context: a queering of context, a hacking of space.
So I began to engineer situations that would summon the subconscious and force subjectivity into my body, to push me beyond performance into the ecstatic/cathartic moment. The IKEA aesthetic is also an ideology: the space-saving storage solutions of IKEA feed and cater to the problem of material and psychological excess, and represent the most perfidious fiction of late-capitalism: that in order to make sense of our lives, we must accumulate stuff and things. I wanted to hurl my body like a weapon at the hermetic reality proposed by IKEA: to shatter the membrane of consensual oppression. I planned to go in there and start screaming. But when the time came I couldn’t do it; it felt too theatrical. The only authentic response to this-my own failure to act, compounded and cemented by the space of IKEA itself-was to just kneel down and cry. “Stockholm Syndrome” will be exhibited in 2012 as a series of large-scale animated gifs.