Six-part installation and texts
The Art Gallery of Alberta Biennial 2015
I don’t know when it started. I guess the first time it was really serious was with water. I developed this insatiable thirst, like it was all that mattered. I was scared to run out, so I went around collecting empty bottles, washing, and refilling them from the tap. I didn’t want to see any empties. I had an insatiable urge to fill, both myself and the bottles! At first I was drinking them almost as fast as I could fill them. I was unfillable. I slowed down eventually, though.
About six days that time. I gradually lost interest, thankfully, because the bottles were really piling up. I had a room full of bottles at my house. I kept them for a while after their effect on me wore off, but you guessed it, the same thing happened again, about one year later. I had the same thirst for water. It started all over again. It’s not as harmless as you think, water, you know. If you have too much it has the opposite effect on your body, it washes you out. It flushes out all your minerals, down the drain, and you get thirstier. You can drown in the bottles too! Luckily, my body told me to stop in time because I didn’t get that far.
Well, it’s been a lot of things over the years, not just water. Usually liquids though, sometimes food, just different cravings, you know, like I was pregnant. It’s been orange juice, jello, eggnog, cola, peanut butter, chicken broth, broccoli, you name it. Water is the least problematic though, obviously, because it’s practically free. These other things are more of a problem because of the cost, right, and all that salt, or sugar. Those are no good, and it has to be the real thing. I can’t use substitutes. They just don’t satisfy me in the same way.
I’m getting used to it. It’s part of my life now. When one craving ends I know that it’s usually a couple of weeks before the next one comes along. So I can lead a normal life some of the time, but at the peak of the cycle it takes over, definitely. It’s an addiction, but not to one single thing, it changes each time.
No, it’s not a choice. I don’t want to want things, but there is some pleasure in satisfying my cravings.
It might have to do with accumulation, wanting to consume the maximum amount of certain substances at certain times. I must have an unusual psychological relationship to material, because this is not about physical need. I don’t need these things for survival. It’s not about thirst, or hunger, because I always want more. When one craving ends, the next one always comes along. Suddenly I’ll see a thing and need it more than anything, like intuition. I know when I see it, like it’s been there waiting for me to find it, like we recognize each other.
SICK ROOM: Muscle PDF