Exhausted by words, decorating skeletons, erasing everything to begin again…Citation was performed for 34 consecutive hours beginning on October 15, 2014 at 7am and ending on October 16, 2014 at 5pm. Once the performance began, I did not leave the stage, sleep or take breaks. I performed in silence and without a clock.
What if I took literally the feeling I have of an artistic lineage that is embedded in my body, in my skin?
This is one of the first questions I asked myself when I started making Citation because my work has always been haunted by a group of female artists whose work remains in the shadows…invisible in many ways.
As a scholar, I am required to literally write out the intellectual predecessors that my original research engages.
With Citation, I wanted to demand (from myself) the same kind of recognition – but in an embodied way that could allow for ephemerality while also grappling with the desire to create new archives.
I did not re-perform any works made by other artists but worked rigorously to perform remembering, illegibility, erasure, and the indexicality of my own body. Performing in duration, I wanted to provoke consideration of citations as simultaneously generative and exhaustive structures of meaning. Throughout, the audience became part of the performance by sitting in chairs, touching my skin, or peering through empty frames. In relation to their bodies, I was always slightly off-balance, slightly invisible and slowly orbiting in a time completely severed from the clock-time of the everyday.
Immediately following the conclusion of Citation (at hour 34), Performance Artist and Scholar Helen Paris responded to the performance and facilitated a talk back with the audience. My skin was on fire, I wanted to laugh with people, had not yet seen the light of day, and tried to answer questions as coherently as possible. Helen did a beautiful job facilitating and I’m thankful for this generative collective response to the performance.
Excerpts from the Audience Comment Book:
“There is so much time in this space – and also none at all.” – Jake Friedler
“I entered to find you on the floor, sandpaper against skin, bandages on wood, stillness on silence. I leave you entangled in a chair, housed in someone’s memory who has never been here.” – Kellen
“a beautiful piece…the space, through your movements, continuously evolves and becomes active in unexpected ways – including my awareness of my own body in relation to your own. While grounded in a specific history and politics, the work of “citation” seems less to reference a situation than to create one…” – Mike M.
“Raegan wrote: “There are five people in the room. I know all of them. I don’t know if the shaking is because I am cold or tired…” And soon the text was gone, eroded away, I may have forgotten exactly how she phrased what she wrote on her leg. Memory fades quickly.” – Sydney
An interview with Raegan by Eric Eich is published here: Stanford Arts Review
All video footage was taken by David Kerr and edited by Rebecca Sansom
Brielle Brilliant currently lives in North America and writes —— pieces. She works as a ghostwriter, bookstore clerk, and filmmaker. She hopes to live and perform ad absurdum. Nathalie Brilliant is a performance artist and a New Genres MFA Candidate at San Francisco Art Institute. Her sculptural performance pieces explore bodily embodiment in an estranged manner exposing movement within stillness, change within temporality, and exacerbating the uncontrollable within the mind and the body. Einat Imber is an artist who constructs scenarios of fictional science. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Art Practice at Stanford. Angrette McCloskey is a New York based set designer and carpenter who has recently relocated to the Bay Area. Angrette has worked in theater and film for the past 8 years. Rebecca Ormiston is a practitioner/scholar in Stanford’s PhD program for Theater and Performance Studies. She is interested in devised work and had the pleasure (or pain) of performing in Raegan’s 2013 durational performance if this gets messy. Rebecca Sansom is a filmmaker currently working with The Natural Capital Project on campus. Her film, Trainsforming America, is screening at The New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles next month. She performed in Jerome Bel’s The Show Must Go On in Memorial Auditorium last year.
With Special Thanks to Jeremiah Barber, Eric Eich, Caitlin Fong, Leslie Hill, Beverley Kane, David Kerr, Kenny McMullen, Patrice O’Dwyer, Mark O’Gorman, Stefanie Okuda, Helen Paris, Heather Perry, Terri Preising, Paul Strayer, Erik Sunderman, Ross Williams, The Department of Theater and Performance Studies and T&PS Production.