Of the 15 minutes spent shivering under fake rain for Infortunes #1, I only kept two, which I then edited in a loop, with the effect that my ordeal seems never-ending. While watching the film, viewers feel both the reality of the artist’s discomfort and, if they are paying attention, the unreality of its prolonged duration. It is therefore not a straightforward capturing of a performance in real time but rather of a presence intensified through editing. My shivers in the rain testify to the reality of the ordeal and lend a sincerity that helps the viewer subscribe to and believe in the display of pathos.
Stretching the duration of the ordeal makes it seem worse than it was. The exaggerated paralysis and inaction that characterizes my work frees the viewer from feelings of empathy and despondency. My portrayals of physical suffering are not extreme; rather they are of a relatively conceivable, ‘reasonable’ suffering, often more psychological than physical. I use my body to actively stage my own suffering. It is a way of emancipating myself from it—in a sense, thumbing my nose at it. I use the body in a way that is similar to theatre, that is, as a material and common ‘site’, a meeting place, for making contact with the viewer.