|PROLOGUE||MAY 21||MAY 22||MAY 23||MAY 24||MAY 25||MAY 26||MAY 27||MAY 28||MAY 29||MAY 30||MAY 31|
|VISUALEYEZ 2005 JOURNAL: MAY 22|
We start off on a hill near the Kinsmen Sports center. Lance is lying on the top of the hill, in his underwear (as though he is sleeping). He gets up and we follow him, walking down from the hill, across the bridge, and into an odd part of downtown near the foot of the bridge. Every so often, we see a piece of clothing conspicuously placed on the ground, on a fence, hanging from a tree, etc. The clothes are for the most part clean, but there are times when I wonder if they were left on the ground (one of the shirts is quite dirty). Apparently a few articles of clothing (left this morning) were stolen.
Every time we see a piece of clothing we help Lance put it on—at sometimes offering a little help, at times dressing him completely. The layers of clothing build up; at the end of the walk, Lance looks almost disfigured and is visibly labouring under the weight of the clothes. As the walk progresses and Lance's appearance becomes stranger, we start to get looks of curiosity and concern from passers-by. At the end of the walk, Lance buzzes himself into an apartment building and leaves.
I notice an almost physical empathetic impulse being triggered in me, which is basically the impulse to physically help others: to open doors for people, help people carry things etc. This is something I do quite readily and so as an impulse it comes quite easily. I also think of the act of dressing someone else, or the act of being dressed, the questions this raises around gender roles (the artist is male, the audience primarily female). Lance plays an enigmatic role: silent, with body language suggesting passivity and, as the layers of clothes build up, helplessness (I am reminded of the child or patient). As we follow him he seems both messianic and disturbed.
The question this raises for me is, is this work primarily about triggering this ‘compassionate impulse'? Or is this impulse being triggered in us in order to raise other questions (such as those binaries of active/passive (perhaps in relation to gender and other social roles, including the role of the artist)?