With each version of, "I wipe away my face and think of you," I discuss questions of about the gaze, simultaneously exposing cultural control and possession over our bodies.
During live performances (at Fort Mason and the Diego Rivera Gallery, both in San Francisco, CA), I entered the space and sat down at a desk, with a typewriter, used make-up wipes, and unused make-up wipes. I then began to remove my make-up. Once a wipe was covered, I inserted the used wipe into the typewriter and wrote:
“I wipe away this mask. This mask that really isn’t a mask. My face. My face on this cloth. My face that you determined. I wipe away this mask and think of you. Is this important. I feel you words in my flesh. The pain, the discomfort. Your words become mine. I make your words mine. The words become new. New. I wipe away this mask and feel refreshed. Refreshed. Exposed. Petrified.”
I repeated this action until all of the make-up on my face was gone. At this point, I got up, pushed in my seat, and left the space.
In the installation, Untitled—at the Swell Gallery in San Francisco, CA—I called for audience members to contribute to the used make-up wipes. If they felt comfortable, they would remove their own masks and add them to the growing pile. This piece created a sense of connection.