Soft Portal

  • Soft Portal
  • Photo/video essay, performance, bedsheets, postage, cardboard, body fluids
  • Dimensions vary
  • 2012

In the Spring of 2012, I began an art project, a performative intervention of sorts, with my long-distance partner, Laura. We had lived together for several years in Chicago before I moved to Los Angeles in 2011. We did our best to stay in touch by phone, text, email, and Skype. But the distance was hard for both of us.

In the course of making other artwork, it occurred to me that we could have a different kind of communication, on that was more physical in spite of the great distance between us. So we began exchanging our bedsheets through the mail, unwashed, every couple of weeks.

The sheets became a visual journal of our most intimate activities. The process worked subtly at first as the sheets collected sweat, scent and hair. Eventually they brought an intense focus onto everything that happened in our beds, driving us to intentionally stain and ruin them for each other, maybe as a stand-in for doing it together. The stains built up on the sheets, marking the passage of time, the passage of our physical existence, and the passage of our time apart.

The shipping process put this passage into the sharpest focus; to think of going three or four days without the sheets was torture, so we used overnight shipping. At one point there was a snafu with the mail and the sheets were delayed and we lost that connection for a few days; I was upset that the regular I had to use wouldn’t mean anything.