DRESSER LA TABLE
These performances were created in the context of a co-production residency with 3e impérial, where I was invited to work with the local community. My project focused on questions related to aging, and was specifically interested in mid-life passage. I began by reflecting on why many women choose to dye their hair when it goes grey. Eventually my interest grew to broader questions around aging and devising personal rituals for marking time. Maybe because it was apple season, and the region is full of orchards, I began carving faces into apples. I was interested in how they seem to accelerate the ageing process: within just a few days they shrivel and wrinkle. I am compelled by the fragile beauty of decay.
My first long residency happened to coincide with my 45th birthday. I decided to host a dinner party in which I invited people to celebrate with me, while reflecting on questions around aging. Since I didn’t know anyone, the 3e impérial team proposed that they each invite two people. I was amazed by the generosity, richness, and intimacy of this exchange amongst strangers. During my subsequent visits I then invited the participants to my studio for one-on-one performances. These intimate encounters took place at a specially-designed table with two semi-circles cut out where we could sit facing one another. This configuration is conducive to a bodily relation with the objects on the table and encourages a focused, immersive experience. On the table was a collection of small objects: knives, apples, timers, salt, lemon, salvaged hairballs, tiny boots… A central part of the exchange was asking questions around aging, yet rather than speaking, the participant responded by writing on old weathered paper. Some of the questions included: Do you have personal rituals to mark time? What is the relationship between aging and consumerism? Why did Patti Smith let her hair go grey? While the participant was writing, I would carve an apple face, stopping exactly when they had completed their action; in this way there was a complicity and a tension in relation to time passing. The performance moved between many registers: from the feeling of a workshop, to contemplative questioning, to enacting an unfamiliar ritual, to play. Although there was a structure, each encounter was unique, unfolding according to how the participant engaged, and the choices s/he made with each action I proposed.