Live Nude Girls
Live Nude Girls is pleasure activism in action, an interactive installation that explores our experiences (especially historically marginalized people) reclaiming our agency, power, and pleasure in communion and conversation with the body. After interviewing people about what it's like to live in their unique bodies, the participant and I select a message that I write directly onto their body, usually backwards, using body paint. I then photograph them directly and often using a mirror. The experience of the participant is one of healing, receiving a message that is from them and to them and a declaration to the outer world.
Installation at the Boston Center for the Arts 2021
The installation of Live Nude Girls at The Mills Gallery in April 2021 will examine the politics of the body and physical closeness in a post-pandemic world. How we connect has drastically changed, with new, exciting possibilities of virtual spaces and heightened pressure and preciousness of physical connection. This installation will explore how we relate to the body in person, in portraiture, and on screen as we adapt to different cultural norms of connection.
At the BCA, Live Nude Girls will have multiple opportunities for participation. Audiences may interview one-on-one with me about their relationship with their bodies while I compose responsive poetry in live-time. They may have messages from our co-created poem written on their body if they wish to see an outward expression of their inner experience. A message that is painted backwards provides the unique perspective of viewing in the mirror their own words from and to their body rather than an outward facing message. Being in conversation with the body in this way is both playful and deeply impactful, appropriate for all ages. Some audiences may want to simply view the “scene” of portraiture and poetry from past participants. The portraits in the space will be of the racially- and age- diverse group of women, trans, and non-binary people whom I’ve interviewed about their relationship to their bodies and who elected to have messages written on their bodies. In the space between each of the portraits are mirrors hung to reflect the audience and to add an additional vantage to see the writing in the portraiture in forward/reverse.
This installation will also have opportunities for online viewing, reflection, and interviewing. Online and in the performance space, two post-show talks will be offered about the impact of increased virtual connection on self-image, body alienation, and practices that foster embodiment and somatic healing from isolation. We'll focus on the renewal of our connection with our own bodies as an integral part of social justice work.
Support for Live Nude Girls
The development of Live Nude Girls would not be possible without my incredible donors and the partnership of so many artistic and somatic practice communities. They support me in creating work in a context of pleasure activism, radical sufficiency, and The Laws of Ease, the basis of my consulting work. Special thanks to the Boston Center for the Arts for selecting me as a 2021 Resident.
Live Nude Girls is a continuation of my past social practice art installations that public compassion by translating individual stories into large-scale interactive media. It affirms the personal as political and personal narrative as political narrative: The ways we speak about and treat one another and ourselves ultimately feed or starve larger, institutionalized structures. My core artistic question has evolved from “How do we make peace more captivating than conflict?” into “How do we make social justice a movement of magnetic, undeniable pleasure?” My background in psychology, Authentic Movement, and pleasure activism orient me to somatic experience as the primary source for storytelling, creativity, and non-linear solutions. In this vein of pleasureful social justice, I am investigating and imagining how we will dismantle unjust systems using the benevolent viruses of play, humor, surprise.
The complex, systemic contexts of capitalism, consumerism, scarcity, racism, and oppression deeply inform the landscape of my work. At this incredible time in human history, we have opportunities to create stories that will break through the selective deafness that feeds systems of dominance, consumption, and over-production. In Live Nude Girls, I eagerly question what stories will emerge from the body that deconflate productivity and worth, building new structures that value and yes, take pleasure in, the birthright wholeness of all people. I believe that neither the complexities of our problems nor the singular truth of our worthiness can be ignored.