reflection: knit quite perfect
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.