project: knit quite perfect
Rie Foshee

reflection: knit quite perfect

Today was my first performance piece as Rie Foshee! In case you haven’t heard, Rie is my performance artist persona.

You can read all about the actual art piece in the above article (which I wrote using the Rie persona). What I’d like to talk more about here was the identity aspects of performing this piece under a persona.

It was my first time to take Rie out on the road, so I made a few changes in my normal appearance to reflect that. I wore a tiny bit of makeup (I usually wear none). Instead of my standard set of jewelry, I wore extra necklaces and a different ring. I wore some of my clothes, but in a different combination that I would normally choose.

Walking down the street to Dolores Park, I tried to figure out if I felt any different. Not really — I still felt like me, but maybe with a slightly different look? I did notice that my voice sounded a bit different when I talked with people. Just a bit deeper — I don’t think that was intentional, but it was an interesting note.

I was a bit worried I would run into someone I knew at Dolores — would I break character? Would I weird them out by insisting I was a different person? Would I just hand them a business card and hope they read the website?

In any case, that didn’t happen during this piece, so I have a bit more time to figure that one out! For now, though, it was pretty fun to go out as a different version of myself and make some art.

I decided on a whim while first creating the Rie persona that I would shoot all her pictures in black and white. At first it was more of an aesthetic choice, but now I actually like the symbolism. Rie isn’t a fully-fledged identity; she’s a mask. Restricting the way she presents the world to lack the full dimension and depth of color seems appropriate.

I think the one main benefit to performing art pieces as Rie is that she lets me feel freer. I didn’t censor myself or worry about what other people would think nearly as much.

If you’re interesting in collaborating on a piece of performance art in the future, please let me know! Persona not required, although you’d be surprised how much fun they are to create.

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