The Anxiety of Being Wrong
Dimensions variable, 17 hours
Munsee and Muhheaconneok lands, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Performance, installation; Medium format film slides
The Anxiety of Being Wrong took place over a two-week exhibition period, beginning with a three-hour performance and continuing an hour per day thereafter. From a vault in the corner of the space, I picked up several chocolate coins covered in gold tin foil. One by one, I unwrapped them, placed them into my mouth, chewed them until they dissolved, then kissed the walls with chocolate spittle in a downward motion from the highest point I could reach to the ground. I repeated this process for hours, moving with a heavy ladder, which when slid roughly through the sand that blanketed the floor, left red tracks. Periodically, I paused to approach a collection of glass bottles in the center of the room and rinsed my mouth with milk, which I then spit out into a tin bucket rusted to the point of leaking. I am allergic to dairy, so I kept focus to never swallow the chocolate or the milk. The first day I covered three out of six walls, bloodying the tip of my nose and becoming covered in the chocolate dribble. In the weeks thereafter, I continued until all six walls were entirely covered, then transitioned into washing the marks away using soapy water. Over the course of the two weeks, the sand became littered with the discarded gold wrappers and damp with the washing of walls; the space took on the stench of rotten milk; and, the morning of the final day of the performance, as I finished cleaning up from breakfast at home, I lost control of my bowels.
Project conception, installation, score, performance, text: Serena Caffrey
Director of photography: Hugh Hopkins
Materials: Two thousand chocolate coins, roofing tar, red floor paint, nine tons masonry sand, "nude" bodysuit, hand-nailed ladder and benches, Kozo paper, fluorescents, milk, vintage milk jars and pails, bar soap, scrubbing brush