This project was hard for me.
I mostly have an inability to deal with confrontation, the people that I was reaching out to for help could easily use this kind of work proposal against me. The initial concept of the project (and where the name stems from) was that I wanted these people to meet me somewhere and just start punching me while the recounted every detail of how they came to feel this way about me. The documentation of the project would be through photographs of bruises and my personal recount of the interactions. For obvious reasons, this needed to be reworked. It ended like this: late in March of 2010 (only a few short months before my thesis) I sent this message to 3 women. All of them responded. All three initially, with some hesitation, agreed. When my thesis show opened I had only one participant. Hung on the wall were pages of a handwritten letter, hand delivered by an "enemy" who I had never met face to face.
The start of the project
- March 29, 2010
Amy MooreA projectThis may be awkward but I was wondering if you would be at all willing to be a part of a project that I am working on for my thesis.
As a part of my work, I collaborate with different people, sometimes strangers and often friends. For a project that I am currently working on ("From The Hands of My Enemies") I am asking that you write me a handwritten letter. It can be as open, honest, biting, etc. as you choose for it to be...
I also completely understand that given the circumstances of this project, you may not want to participate. This is also fine. If you choose to participate, a simple "yes" works as a response to this and I can give you an address to send the letter to when you've finished writing it. You are free to leave it anonymous so that when it is featured in an exhibition, your name will not be included. The group of letters will simply be displayed, as is, under the heading "From The Hands of My Enemies".
I am willing to elaborate more on this project. I also understand if you wish for me to not contact you again. It is a difficult project for me to complete considering I am asking you for a favor. I know that as someone who doesn't like me, that puts you in a vulnerable situation. I really hope that you choose to be a part of this- if not to help me out, then to at least let out any pent up anger/other emotions you may feel toward/about me.
I look forward to your potential contribution to this project and welcome any feedback/criticism you may have.
The ending is always strange.
At the end of the "friend" and "enemy" pieces I was left with strange conclusions. In my performance with Sara, our movements turn from loving and careful to violent and ritualistic. I no longer saw my friend's face, I was completely immersed in the performative act. However, in my letter from my enemy, her words start off wanting to accuse and hurt me and in the end she is thanking me. So what does all of this mean? How do I make sense of a violent performance with a close friend or a thank you letter from an enemy?