Footnote to open at ASTR: Minneapolis, November 5, 2016
a 17-hour durational performance by Raegan Truax ”
In October 2014, I created a 34-hour durational performance titled Citation. Citation began with a question about remembering and artistic lineages. The work transformed the scholarly practice of “citing” into an embodied and ephemeral act of remembering.
Reflecting on Citation over the last year, I have wondered about the female artists whose specters did not get transported to Memorial Auditorium last fall. I had prepared and studied the work of over eighty artists and I had no idea how memory would function or fail in the live performance. Recently, when I looked through my notes, I found an interesting pattern. The majority of the women whose work was not remembered during Citation, were artists I had discovered through the work of another artist. They were performers I first encountered as “footnotes.”
As I continue to transverse this archive in my research and writing, I find myself physically effected – nauseous, getting bloody noses, and sweating – when I contemplate how the process of editing functions in relation to the way histories and lineages are made visible. In the live performance of Citation, there was not time to negotiate with memory, and the physical and mental exhaustion of trying to remember everything became apparent over the duration of the work. Footnote began when reflecting on Citation, I started wondering: What was forgotten in the shadows I had created?
In response to an invitation from Helen Paris and Leslie Hill to create a durational performance for the 2016 Annual Conference of the American Society for Theater Research, a conference organized around the them of TRANS, I began to experiment with what Footnote will entail as a new durational performance. The work begins with transvaluing the archive Citation forgot. To “transvalue” is to re-estimate a value that deviates from accepted standards.
In academia, “footnotes” generally contain information the writer feels compelled to share but knows would slow the pace of the reader. Readers might skim footnotes, or they might find a hidden gem that “takes them down the rabbit-hole”; time of return unknown. The temporality of the footnote is therefore determined by its value to the reader – a reader who has already taken time to glance down based on how they valued the sentence before the footnote appeared. As I create Footnote, I am thinking about attention, visibility, and the glance. During the performance, I will slowly poison myself, heightening the visibility of “slow death” in our everyday lives.* What do we make time to look at? What, in fact, are we watching?
Footnote will take place Saturday November 5, 2016 from 6:30am – 11:30pm.** on the “pre-function” terrace of the Marriott hotel in Minneapolis. The work conceptually engages forgetting, skimming, and being completely visible while “left out in the cold.”
As I prepare for the work, I find myself concocting a temporal potion for amnesia. My rabbit hole begins here. I wonder if my ghosts will let me forget.
*Lauren Berlant writes about “slow” death in her book Cruel Optimism. According to Berlant, “slow death,” is “the embodiment toward death as a way of life.” (Berlant, Lauren G. Cruel Optimism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.)
**Consistent with the majority of my durational performances, I do not use a clock or timepiece during the performance. The 17-hour duration is the frame. When the work begins however, “time” becomes the material and property of the body, not the clock.