How does it feel to be a fiction?  (2017)

Viral text and digital performance




Iterations:

How does it feel to be a fiction? New York Virus ( April 13-June 14, 2017)

Viral text and digital performance


How does it feel to be a fiction? Bogotá Virus (October 19-November 25, 2017)

Viral text, digital performance, sculptural installation


How does it feel to be a fiction? New Haven Virus (May 11-June 30, 2018)

Viral text, digital performance, public art installation and participatory reading



How does it feel to be a fiction? is a digital performance that disseminates a text in a manner that mirrors the operation of a viral “email worm”—though with the active consent of participants. This text changes with each installation of the piece, responding to the context of the hosting institution.  To participate in the performance, visit https://howdoesitfeeltobeafiction.org.  On this site, you will be instructed to click on a series of buttons embedded in this page: one that will first ask you to IDENTIFY yourself with your Google log-in information and then one that will ask you to CONSENT to participating in the piece.  


If you chose to click on the buttons, enter your Google log-in information, and give your consent, then you will be granted access to one of a series of texts.  Each text considers what it means to live as a “fiction”—i.e., the way women's bodies are a “fictions” to governments that seek to regulate their reproductive capacities, the way indigenous communities are “fictions” to the colonizing powers that seek to displace them, the way marginalized populations are “fictions” to the State that does not grant them representation, etc.  Texts from previous installations are available as documentation, while the current text is only available for the duration of the exhibition to those who consent to participate in the performance.  


At the same time you are granted access to the text, the site will simultaneously send an email in your name to all of the email addresses stored in your Gmail account.  This email contains an invitation to new readers to participate in the performance.  Across these steps, no personal information is stored permanently.  Your contacts are not impacted by the “viral” mechanism outside of receiving this one email, unless they choose to follow the link and go through the steps to provide their own consent to participating in the piece.  In this manner, the text reproduces itself by circulating “virally" through tens of thousands of personal email accounts.  


This is an iterative work, and a new text (available only via the viral mechanism for the duration of the exhibition) is produced each time the piece is shown.  The previous texts are available as the documentation of the work.