Bed sets, photo release form, cameras, photo printer, dollars, and artist and participant's body.
Olympia is a one-to-one participatory performative project. In the room, there is a bed set with white bed sheet and pillows. Red curtains are installed behind it. Across the table, a digital camera along with photo printer is set up. Before stepping into the room, the participants hear a voice from behind a curtain: “Would you like to be my model?” When the participants agree, I, wearing no clothing but high heels and a black strip necklace, welcome them. I introduce myself as a photographer and show the participants the picture of ‘Olympia’ painted by Manet. I ask the participants to pose just like Olympia, helping the participants to pose correctly; participants leans on the pillows, cross their legs, and place their hands on her/his genitalia. Then I take pictures of the participants when they are ready.
While the pictures are being printed, I provide the participants photo and video release forms. Also, the forms ask the participants to agree not to share what they experience in the room for 24 hours after participation. After they sign in the form, I give the participants the copy of the forms, the printed photos, and dollars in envelopes, saying “Thank you.”
This piece is concerned with an authorship of a body that is violated by cultural images, more particularly, by inherent ways to observe, exhibit, and market different gender, culture, race, and class. The familiar pose of a woman leaning on a bed, and established cultures of art, market, and bureaucracy are encountered in various ways while artist and participants interact. The notions of art and pornography, labor and money, diversity and class, sexuality and violence, and self-expression and exposure become indistinguishable but present when a random participant chooses to be and / or is convinced to be a body on display.