The Distance Between You and Me (2011)

In The Distance Between You and Me, I inscribe and erase a series of fragments of texts from voicemail messages left for me by friends in other cities, on a wall covered with black paper using thick, white chalk. As the chalk slowly disintegrates into dust over the two-hour durational performance, the remaining written fragments become a visual metaphor for the ‘texts’ – movements and experiences – inscribed in our bodies. While I slowly write and move through a set of gestures, a video of a phantom arm mysteriously appears on my torso caressing me. A camera tracks my movements so that as I back away from the paper, wherever I travel, this virtual body appears as well – touching me, leaving some virtual trace.

In The Distance Between You and Me, I pose a question about where the body exists and how we negotiate digital media and social networking.  Instead of seeing a ‘wired’ world as some power struggle between us and our machines, I wonder how we embody our humanity and our relationships to one another through these ‘new media.’  In other words, I ask where the body exists in a ‘post-human’ world, and whether we want to really get rid of our humanity in our romance with, and anxiety about, new technology.  Instead of seeing technology as somehow separate from ourselves, in this piece, I aim to integrate the use of video, projection, voicemail texts, as aspects of ourselves, and as a way to communicate our relationships to one another.