The Floor is a Door
I am currently developing The Floor is a Door. In this project, I first create a set for my performances. The set is a two level space, with the top space fabricated to resemble my bedroom and the bottom to represent underground. Within this set, I perform with props. The props are hollow recreations of objects from my actual bedroom. I film the breaking, dripping, and rising of the props during the performances. Lastly, this recorded footage of the performances is projected in a built space. I have filmed one cross section of my bedroom and the ground beneath.
For this project, I have created an elaborate set and props. As source material for the props, I mounted the task of recreating every object in my bedroom. I construct every object in the room without discrimination for its value, fabricating items from the mundane (such as a coffee cup or ponytail), to the personal (such as a photograph of a passed away pet), to the large and complex (such as a bureau or bed). With predominantly clay as my material, I craft the objects in hollow form, turning the former items into vessels. I then paint the vessels, detailing the inside with pink bodily textures. After completing the props, I arrange them on the upper and lower levels of the set. The top level is fabricated to resemble my bedroom, including its light blue walls and beige carpeting. The bottom is carefully textured and painted to represent an underground cavern. In final preparation for the performance, the hollow forms on the upper level are filled with fake blood.
During the recorded performance, I break open the objects on the upper level, releasing the fake blood from the vessels. The blood moves past the rubble of broken vessels, spiraling through the bedroom floor into the underground, and filling the next version of the vessels below. After the blood has transferred, the underground forms rise and resurrect from the dirt. In the video installation, this performance will be played on an infinite loop. I will film each crosssection of the room individually and then, to create a full representation of my room and the ground beneath it, I will place the videos side-by-side in the video installation.
Multi-layered spiritual and societal references compel the processes and actions in my performance. The doubling of objects and connection between the two levels of the set relates to the phrase, “as above, so below,” a quote rooted in occult teachings. This phrase suggests that events on earth will affect the astral plane, and vice versa. Once the forms are broken, the life force, ie. blood, escapes and is subsumed into the “the other side”. The objects in the performance shift between levels of the set, a “lower self” (earthly being) and a “higher self” (spiritual being). Through my movements, the performance speaks to the magical idea of moving back and forth between life and death, embodied and disembodied, corporeal being and ghost. Another interpretation of “as above, so below” is sociological, interpreting that the individual is formed by the surrounding society. As I perform, I envision the objects and furniture within the room as surrogate for my own body, but also my body can be surrogate for other womxn bodies. In tandem to the pain and violence I depict in my performance, determination and resilience rise in response to these forces. These traits are an integral part of the female experience. The piece serves as both a dark fairy tale and a true reminder of the danger and power of being female in a hostile world. In addition to describing trauma to physical bodies, the piece also speaks to emotional trauma. The project embodies destruction and reclamation in both a physical and emotional sense. For example, forms rising from the dirt can relate to a literal or emotional resurrection. Creating a space to recognize and support these experiences is integral to my work.
The Floor is a Door, details
The Floor is a Door, photographs of individual sculptural props
The Floor is a Door, photographs of illustrated model of final installation
I have recorded two video segment of "The Floor is a Door”. I will record videos of every part of the room, segment by segment, eventually making my way around the entire room. In the final installation, I plan to hire a contractor to build a room in a gallery and then I will project all the segments together on the walls of the room. The room in the final gallery installation will be the same size as my actual bedroom. I'll display the sculptural artifacts of the performance in another part of the gallery.
The Floor is a Door, digital rendering of final installation from an outside view