Slow Dip Steady Drip is a series of installations exploring experiences of illness, dislocation, and eroticism. It is a shrine to the extraordinary nature of life in bed, embodying its most peculiar, ridiculous, and meaningful (less) qualities.
Small wire cages are scattered across the walls of a large room where text-covered metal pillowcases hide old feather pillows from a recently closed convent and reveal tiny video images of open mouths, songbirds, and healing touches. Inside each crudely made cage is a solitary object floats above a tiny pillow. Small pools of liquid testify to a leak from some unidentified source. Looming above is an etched metal lowered ceiling covered with my mother’s scribbled requests while on a respirator and unable to speak.
My father’s childhood metal baby bathtub holds a trapped video image and emits seemingly unrelated sounds. In one corner a desk is covered with laboriously hand-made metal books documenting stories of water, illness, and love. Another tiny monitor shows images of dancing couples, rushing water, and nervous hands. In the background we hear a soundtrack – our dance instructor directing us in the Foxtrot, while flies buzz, drips drip, and scissors clip.
During the past twenty years one component of my work has been a series of community-based public projects working in homeless shelters, hospitals and long-term care facilities. The new millennium these experiences connected with my own life in unexpected ways. My sister was diagnosed with cancer and my mother spent a month in Intensive care with a rare pneumonia contracted in a hospital waiting room.
In my community-based projects we concerned ourselves with those spaces where place, object, and identity intersect. In workshops and journaling, the bed in both its domestic and institutional setting became a source for memories or sounds, words and images. Endless hours in bed create a strange combination of fantasy and reality – dripping faucets, dripping IV’s, dipping numbers of vital sign monitors – images of better times in better beds under better circumstances. Bed became a prison for some, a space longed for by others. In this sense, then, each wire cage in the installation serves as a portrait of a psychological and an actual space. Slow Dip Steady Drip explores the ways we give meaning to the most incidental encounters in times of solitude or stress.