Bible Ass, 2003

Glass Curtain Gallery, Columbia University of Chicago, USA

The central and most contentious action in this performance was in response to a growing fear that the US was at that very moment embarking upon a religious war by invading Iraq. In front of a wall-sized film projection of rocks soundlessly tumbling down a hillside, I conducted ‘deaf’ conversations with the gallery visitors by writing in marker pen over the pages of a bible. I wrote: ‘Hi how are you doing?’, garnering generally vague or non-committal responses: ‘Yeah – I’m good’ and so on. Whereas the responses were quite instinctually good-natured, I could feel my correspondents’ growing fear that, given the current theo-conservative religious atmosphere, defacing the bible might well soon be an illegal activity in America.

Upon concluding the brief ‘conversations’ I tore the thin pages from the bible, and scooping Vaseline from a jar in my coat pocket, screwed the paper up into a viscous pellet. Reaching down the back of my elastic-waisted trousers I inserted the lubricated paper balls into my anus. This action caused a fuss among certain members of the audience and someone called the police – the Gallery curators were somewhat relieved that I’d moved on from this particular action before they arrived.

Supported by an Artist Residency at Columbia University of Chicago

bible ass