With Us It's Personal
With Us It's Personal was a performance work to take place in a defunct phone booth on June 20, 2016. I had walked past the phone booth many times, but one day I SAW it for the first time. I felt an electricity, and knew it was the next site for an art intervention or several. I spent the next two weeks excitedly preparing for the performance work, journaling and envisioning. I planned to sit in the booth from 7 am to 7 pm, interacting with people downtown and holding the space. Once the initial performance was over, I wanted to transform it into a mini art gallery, a library, a free flower stand, or grow a rambling rose over it. Now that it was no longer "useful," it offered so many possibilities as a free space for art and community like a mini oasis downtown. After the initial photo shoot and PR had been made and sent out, I was driving to work on June 8 past the phone booth and it was no longer there. I parked my car without paying the meter and ran back to where the phone booth had been standing and saw it lying on the ground, disconnected wires hanging out of the bottom.
The construction worker told me that the phone hadn't worked for 2 years so they had taken it down. This uncanny event transformed the work from one about presence, celebration, and possibility into a poignant work about sudden disconnection and loss echoing in my personal life the breakup of my longest relationship thus far. How do I cope when my physical memories are erased? When a vital connection is lost, or a dialog is abruptly ended, then what? When my dreams can no longer find an object? Too, it gave me a desire to see differently next time and not to dismiss something or someone for no longer 'working.' It is so tempting to want to "clean up" our communities but we have to be very careful how we do it, not to overlook the gift that is hidden in plain sight.