As I strolled around on May Day in search of quiet places I realized that when I think about labor, socialism and the “worker”, my thoughts often gravitate towards ideas of isolation. I suppose these feelings partly stem from the physical isolation that I experienced growing up. But at the same time, on May Day, I wonder if there is more to it. I was raised, borrowing again from Marx and Engles, to become part of the bourgeoisie but wound up a sort-of-proletariat worker. And, being in between the two I have never felt a connection to either. And it seems these ideas of physical and mental isolation fuse together every time I put on my ear protection in search of solitude.
As I prepare for my performance all these ideas come bubbling to the surface. I constructed six matching coffins, because making quality multiples is what I have been trained as a worker to do. As I perform I will strip down the lower half my body to be vulnerable and completely protect my head with a tinted, full-face shield and respirator while I wear ear protection. Covered in this way the majority of my senses will be cut off from on-lookers and the world. I could have chosen a latex mask like a dominatrix might use or perhaps a hood like a torture victim might be forced to wear, but I instead choose to isolate myself as a worker would. I am not attempting to shock or awe people in anyway as I bury one of the coffins in this fashion. I have choosen a place in the city that is cut off from the main thorough fares, in a small park, on a dead end street lined with vacant buildings and houses being renovated. I will be, like the citizens of Gent, attempting to have a private moment in a public space. My art projects are beginning to change. It seems that I no longer, "make art about how I earn my living." Instead, I think I am now just making art about being an artist.
Anyways, I wandered and eventually came upon the center of town. There were a fair amount of people, but not a massive crowd. Towards the edges of the gathering there were different tables set up. One was selling tee-shirts of Ché Guevara and offering Cuban drinks made with Havana Club (a rum made in Cuba that is still unavailable in the U.S. because of the embargo.) Another table offering used books about Socialism. And, another selling tee-shirts of Malcolm X and pamphlets. Next to them there was a group of anarchist-looking-kids gathered around a radio listening and singing along to Rage Against the Machine. The whole scene became terribly unnerving and I left in a hurry to find the quiet places.