NEEDS :: The Need to Wash the Self with Milk and Honey
Window Installation:: Video, photographic print, audio.
-BOP’07 Exhibition, PPG Place, Pittsburgh, PA
-Ellsworth Arts Festival, Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA
-Future Tenant Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
In the symbolic world of the unconscious, honey represents health and milk represents life.
The ritual of washing the body with milk and honey is an act of healing and self-validation.
Washing the obsessions off, illuminating the self, and watching from stillness how and where things move.
NEED: Es necesario desnudar el yo para transformarse.
In the Spring of 2007, Katherine Talcott, curator of the Best of Pittsburgh annual exhibition (BOP'07), invited me to create a video installation for the show, using some store front windows that were available at the exhibition site in the PPG building. As a result of this invitation, I created the video The Need to Wash the Self with Milk and Honey, as a continuation of a series of works I've been doing dealing with the idea of NEEDS. Little did I know about the effect it would have...
The exhibition opened in June 2, 2007. My piece was covered on June 4 and a few days later unplugged by the real-state agency that manages the PPG buildings. This caused a whole wave of media reactions that lasted well into the end of the summer. The whole issue?? NUDITY!! The video depicts a performance I did in the forest where I am walking and carrying two buckets, one containing milk and the other honey, and at some point in the performance, I sit down, and bathe myself with these two elements. The video played on a tiny 8" monitor that you could see through small paper cut-outs (the idea was to create a 'pipping tom' exhibit).
Below are some of the articles that were written about this whole situation. My statement remains the same: the whole situation was ridiculous, there was nothing censorable about the video, and a whole lot of Americans need to stop letting corporations rule their morality, sense of aesthetics, and desires. Corporate Pittsburgh remains a provincial, narrow minded, and safe place for conservatives to do their business.
- Pulling of nude artwork one signal of change at festival, by Mary Thomas for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- So why did that video get shut down at the Arts Festival?, by Bill O’Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper
- Involvement by the National Coalition Against Censorship