Identity and Labor
The American was performed in the studio. The performance consists of a performer appearing in an eagle mask and wings while wearing work clothes. The performer wears a tool belt with a hammer, saw, and tape measure. There is a ladder in the room. The performer makes a series of measurements, then mimes the cutting of wood. This action is repeated a number of times. Next the performer mimes carrying objects up the ladder and hammering them. This is repeated multiple times. The miming of actions lends importance to these actions. They are turned into symbols to match the symbolic costume. Eagle is a symbol of America, just as the labor force and hard work are part of the American identity. The American mythology says America was made great through democracy and hard work. This performance addresses the value of hard work. These actions can only have value if there are resources and materials. otherwise these token actions are symbolic in nature, American identity is fluid and continually in need of examination.
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