The Longest Day was created and performed in solidarity with people affected by Alzheimer’s. I was given three stories – from a woman with Alzheimer’s, a daughter whose mother had Alzheimer’s, and a caretaker. The common feature of all these stories came to me as a vision of hands. Hands holding, hands caring, idle hands, busy hands. There was this direct line in one of the stories: “It seems if mother has something to do with her hands she is not as rude to me.” I created the performance around these words, my words, my hands, and the hands of those I love the most in this world.
I asked 14 of my people to send me a photo of their hands. I printed them 81/2 X 11 on ivory card stock and laminated them.
I wrote words about hands.
Prior to the performance, in view of the audience, I painted my hands in multiple colors with beautiful saturated watercolors.
For the performance, I stood on the laminated photos. I thought of these as a ‘hand bowl’ – my people holding me up. I stood still and performed with my hands. I said these words:
If her hands are busy there is more room for love.
If your hands are reaching there is more room for love.
If my hands are making there is more room for love.
If our hands are open there is more room for love.
This is a photograph of the veilshroud layout for F* you, babies. You can’t see the entire span of the ‘wings’, but this does show the layout top to almost bottom. The babies ringed in white are paper cut-outs – babies that still need to be drawn and cut-out of the plastic shower curtain and then painted black. I have 104 done; 143 to go. I’ll make as many as I can this week and next week Lisa and I will start attaching them together.
I am making about a million babies this week for the shroudveil for F* you, babies. A dear friend pointed this out: “That’s a little over one and a half baby-makes per second, 24 hours a day, for 7 days.
YOU WOULD BE AWESOME!!”
This is Lisa’s working version of the baby chain for F* you, babies. The babies are forming a ‘spine’ down the middle and ‘wings’ on the sides so the veil will drape well when I wear it. These are copies on paper of the actual plastic babies.
With the help of Lisa Escobar, I am going to turn the babies into a veil. The babies will be sewn together; maybe through rivets; maybe attached to a clear plastic material first. I am going to wear the veil in a live performance that embodies the feelings of constraint and restraint that mark my experience of mothering my children. The main technical concerns will be the strength of the sewn-together babies – so that I can pull, stretch, etc. the veil; and the drape of the finished veil – how well does it hang and function as a piece of material.
‘Recognition’ is a live performance I created for Angie Dowell’s Dress and Culture class. ‘Recognition’ questions cultural misconceptions about wearing the veil and asks the audience to participate in an altered way of looking. The poem projected in the background is by Judy Grahn. I will be performing ‘Recognition’ for Angie’s Dress and Culture class in St. Louis this spring.