Mass Ideas, Reiterated Like Parrots, 2010, Site-specific performance and Text. Dimensions Variable.

Mass Ideas, Reiterated Like Parrots, 2010, was a site-specific performance conceived as a partner to Artist’s Uniform #8: “… to sail gaily, in brave feathers, right in the teeth of a dreary convention”. Using David Alfaro Siqueiros’ former house/studio to stage a social tableau for the “people of Mexico,” I, my mother Barbara Ralf, and Cynthia Lindstrom (my step-sister) played the “roles” of a male artist who is getting ready for his art opening, a hairdresser, and a translator, respectively.

While my mother frantically applied a bloody red dye to my hair, I slowly and authoritatively read a 1928 opinion piece by D.H. Lawrence, “Master in His Own House,” which melds the British author’s disdain for “mass ideas” with a kind of inchoate feminism. My sister’s job was to translate and repeat out loud for the audience the Lawrence text into Spanish, but rather than reading Lawrence’s words she was reading another text altogether – “Aliens in Their Own Land,” which adapts the Lawrence for our complicated contemporary moment.

After the reading was over, the performance continued on the streets of Polanco, where my sister and I walked the 10 minutes to the hotel that I was staying at. I then proceeded to get ready for the SAPS opening – rinsing my hair, showering, and getting dressed for my next performance, Artists Uniform #8. Meanwhile, my sister fielded questions about the “scene” that the curious hotel staff had just witnessed (I walked in from the street dressed in the hotel’s complimentary white robe, towel, slippers and shower cap while my hair and beard were dripping with red liquid). After sharing some celebratory Micheladas, we donned our green paper hats, which doubled as the En Cada Instante, Ruptura exhibition announcement and as a public invitation to engage in my AU#8 project during the show’s opening event. Wearing my red trousers and rust-colored jacket, we raced back to SAPS for the last minutes of the opening – my mother had been left behind as the true star of the evening!


Photo Credit: SAPS