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

Viral text, digital performance, sculptural installation


The second iteration, How does it feel to be a fiction? Bogotá Virus (October 19-November 25, 2017), was part of the exhibition No Como Cuenta curated by de cabeza (Catalina Acosta-Carrizosa and Jerónimo Duarte-Riascos) at la Universidad de los Andes.  It included a sculptural installtion in addition to the viral text and digitial performance.  For this iteration, the text considered the fictions central to desire—the fact that love is something you don't have but want to give to someone else who doesn't want it.


The sculptural installtion consited of sound, documentation from the first iteration of the work, as well as interactive/participatory components.

Digital performance documentation

13oz vinyl, 17x379 inches


Most participants first encounter How does it feel to be a fiction? through an email invitation, which contains a link to the webpage that describes the viral mechanism and offered readers the chance to participate through a multi-step consent system.  In the first iteration of the piece, How does it feel to be a fiction? New York Virus, these emails were sent from the name of someone the receiver knew attached to a fictional domain generated in as part of the viral dissemination mechanism: name@fiction.recessart.org.  Should the recipient reply to the invitation directly, the email explained that their response would not be sent to the person's whose name appears in the fictional email as the sender, but to an account monitored by me, the author of the performance. Since no personal information was stored otherwise, the emails sent to this catch-all account documents the individual points of contact that made up the text's viral spread as it was unfolding in real time.  Some of the emails sent to this account were directed to the artist asking questions or expressing views about the work; some of them were intended for recipient's friends or acquaintances responsible for them receiving the email; yet many of them were automatic responses generated by corporations or larger institutions.  These automatic replies, interwoven with more personal communications, serve as an imprint of our imbrication with larger corporate and institutional structures. This inbox is a repository of those heterogenous connections that reflect our digital citizenship.


Participatory installation and documentation

Two high-gloss paper posters, 18x24inches each; computer with participatory "live" archive


How does it feel to be a fiction? is largely based on the reception of a prior work, Untitled [Senior Thesis] (2008). This project explored questions of biological and epistemological reproduction. The performance, which took place over the period of an academic year, entailed the precise bodily intervention (detailed in the poster on the left) as well as a sculptural installation.  As part of their public response, Yale University censored the sculptural installation and claimed the entire work to be a “creative fiction” (reproduced in th poster on the right).


Since the original installation for Untitled [Senior Thesis] was banned in 2008, the peice largely consists in its telling, which takes evolving forms.  Currenlty, the information available online about the work (in news articles, academic texts, blogs, and on social media etc.) varies widely.  As a component of this installation, I invited the curators gallery audiences to participate in this narrative of the work through a "live" archive.  On the pictured computer is a file folder with information the curators had compiled about Untitled [Senior Thesis].  Viewers were invited to contribute to the file folder by saving publically available information they found online which they felt relevant.  In this sense, what was archived was not necessarily information about the work, but invidual acts of looking.