Hinged doors w/ carved text, ivory soap cast in hydrocal, glass vial, molasses, shelf, spy hole, video loop with audio.
In Pure, text carved into hinged doors, whispered voices and sounds, and a video seen through the spy hole play with notions of purity. Two stories are visible: one door reveals an excerpt from a 1950′s pulp novel in which a psychiatrist treats a young girl by investigating her childhood obsession with a birthmark that her mother promised would spread if she masturbated. The fear of becoming “brown all over” drove this young pre-lesbian to obsessively wash herself. On the other door is an autobiographical tale of having my mouth washed out with soap for “talking back.” The literalness of this punishment became associated for me with the cultural repression of my parents’ WASP middle class fears. In both stories, racial and sexual dread mingle and feed each other.
Through the peephole, a bar of soap spins around, gradually exploding into unrecognizable form. On the other door, a dark substance slowly drips onto a stack of white soap. Different sound comes through a hidden speaker in each door, sometimes words, sometimes the sound of wind, rain, knocking, glass breaking, a slow explosion.