If you read my post in March about my fledgling endurance piece Lady Godiva Sucks Oranges, here is a continuation of that performance in a more public setting, with a few other changes. To my initial dismay my classmates and professor were against the idea of using fruit for the reworking of my performance, as strangers could cause far more damage once the barrier of friendship was removed. Thus I came to the solution to use balloons filled with orange juice. However, I accidentally purchased what I can only call "industrial strength balloons" as they took several throws to burst. Some small welts were left that disappeared within an hour, but in retrospect I am glad that the fruit was not an option this time. Being a public spectacle and having objects thrown at you for an hour and a half is not very pleasant, but then again queer people face worser things than water balloons on a regular basis.
It was interesting how even when people didn't know me they were still hesitant to throw the balloons at me (even the pitcher for the baseball team had his reservations). To me a balloon didn't seem like a threatening object, but many were worried that they would hurt me, and even took pity after realizing how the juice and water would make me even colder on a cloudy day in May. "I don't want to hurt you", "I'm sorry" "Please don't hate me for this" were some of the more common responses I received. In order to encourage agency on part of the audience I tried to remain silent and unresponsive as possible, mostly shrugging when people asked me questions. It surprised me how many of them took the shrug as a sign that they were not allowed to participate, as if I needed to ask them to assault me. Others took it as a means of stress relief during finals week, but overall there was an overwhelming concern for my wellbeing.
If I am truly to experience vulnerability then this performance either needs to be done in a gallery space or in a city. There can be no collegiate or friendly barriers hindering the audience, although I suspect that many will still fear for my safety and be unwilling to participate. Perhaps I need to provoke people or put up a sign. But then again, queer people don't ask to be assaulted, they just are by people who deem them to be things that shouldn't exist. Well, only time and opportunity will tell when Lady Godiva will perform again, but next time I guarantee to not stop until either silence or utter chaos is attained. This project needs to be done in a way that has the same power as Yoko Ono or Marina Abramovic, and the audience must lose control. Although, this might just become a piece where the audience created the performance and I am the spectator. We'll see.
Open your mind, be brave, and be kind.
To See With One's Body and Soul
This blog documents all of my adventures, as well as my development into an artist, writer, and a better person.