ACTIVE INGREDIENTS (2016)
In Active Ingredients, I perform as an esthetic technologist and heliculturalist, offering participants a multimedia treatment of fresh, organic, locally-sourced and high-vibration snail slime, activated by a proprietary blend of foraged, filtered and concentrated footage from commercials for high-end face products and dispensed via a unique, customized delivery system. The benefits of this treatment include but are not limited to: enhanced intuitive powers, increased production of collagen and elastin, deep-frequency cell communication, reduced inflammation, stimulated meridians and neutralization of free radicals.*
This performance was originally conceived for a gallery located in the back of a Ford Bronco that "tailgates" existing events like street fairs and outdoor festivals. Two major challenges were figuring out how to have video and sound elements without the need for electricity (I ended up using a tablet connected to a Bluetooth speaker, both of which can be charged in advance) and how to interface with a large and diverse public potentially unaware of the line between art and reality (hence, the brochure).
*The magic of skincare — both proven and promised — is that we think we want to look different, but really, we want to feel different. Our skin damage betrays our inevitable implication in destruction: of our own bodies, of other living things, of the earth. We want to halt, offset, repair and above all, deny that damage, erase the evidence of our past transgressions as if banging out the dent could somehow un-crash the truck. And, we want to feel good about it. So we are promised radical recipes and revolutionary rituals, fair trade and cruelty-free systems for procuring our precious elixirs, spiritual transcendence as a viable alternative to vanity and self-empowerment through the practice of self-care. What we desire goes beyond beautification. We want absolution. In this quixotic quest to detoxify, we will stretch the limits of our belief and tie it up in knots. We seek out, eke out and demand the affirmation of nature through our perception of its ability to heal us. That’s what brought us here, that’s why it’s come to this: snail slime. Can there be a more perfect symbol of our perverted quest for purity than industrialized snail slime extraction? We start with the snail, and then we spiral out. Way, way out.
Active Ingredients has been exhibited at the Bronco Gallery, Open Signal, and the Say When Festival in Portland, OR. Each performance iteration involves a different set of snails that are sourced from Forest Park at least ten days prior, allowing their mucin to have time to reach maximum potency.