Fetish of the Ex
In 2016 I began a project in Beacon, NY where I had recently moved. I had found myself in a new town with a quieter, more routine life in a house with a new man and few friends around. The result was a performative exploration of a relationship with my new boyfriend’s ex-fiance. It involved the house they bought together, her leftover possessions and the myth of her presence.
As I moved inside this practice, I began to uncover and wear her leftover clothing. I regarded her personal trinkets as my own. Also an artist, I noticed the similarities between us from her forgotten childhood journal. I created a friend, a confidant and an enemy. I created a fetish.
The house and its gardens also became involved, so I explored what they could tell me. It can be a sort of game to become so quiet in a house that you don’t even believe you are there yourself. I tried this with her; got really quiet and sank into the bed to let her run around so I could watch her. I began to understand how replaceable I was, fulfilling a biological need for another human, in a similar way to the person who came before me, in the same way a plant makes moves to return year after year.
My performance, “Fetish of the Ex” consisted of daily engagements with her clothing, journals and leftover artifacts with the space of the house and my mind. I kept an ongoing journal of my experiences. I lived within her space, to consume it and be consumed. I made decisions as she may have. I submitted to her and I ruled her. I moved through time and space to understand and reenact the myth of their past, to better understand my desires. Martha Wilson describes desire as the operative word. The desire is to become someone else and to understand someone else as a means of creating change within oneself. The objective of living inside some else is to change.