Elizabeth Di Donna

Performance at Working Method Contemporary Gallery, November 2011
I combined personal, historical and material memories in this four-hour performance.

I sat in a chair and gradually added a kind of structural framework of raw clay to my body while a series of performers read aloud from selections I chose related to the idea of progress. The books ranged from John Locke’s political essays to John Steinbeck’s East of Eden to Robert Smithson’s personal reflections on the re-routing of the Colorado River, weaving together a narrative of diverse yet congruent voices. As the performance advanced, the earlier clay sections began to break, yet if I moved downward to fix the problems the later additions would break also. Despite attempts to keep still the vulnerability of the clay presented itself and decisions had to be made on what could be fixed and what to leave broken.