Amber Hawk Swanson Doll Closet (2014)

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Amber Hawk Swanson’s Doll Closet (2014) explores the closet as a site of secrecy for queer sexuality and doll ownership. Live streamed online for one week, this durational performance is a collaboration between Hawk Swanson and Jesse—both of whom are active members of the doll community. Throughout, Hawk Swanson constructs a replica of the hidden closet where Jesse secretly kept his RealDoll Heather for fifteen years. Jesse provides Hawk Swanson instructions on how to build the closet and also discloses intimate details about his relationship with Heather (whose body parts are present as objects in the performance to bear witness to the construction). Here, Hawk Swanson makes the private accessible to the public by creating a space for the doll community to share “closeted” desires, fantasies, and sexualities without breaking anonymity. The metaphor of the closet becomes a rendered site that asks what kinds of relationships can flourish in secrecy? Through the process of replicating Heather’s closet, Hawk Swanson constructs a queer body politic that confronts binary notions of what constitutes intimacy, sexuality, and artificiality.

Amber Hawk Swanson is a video and performance artist based in New York City. Hawk Swanson's work explores how the psychological debt of love animates us in a social-emotional economy. She has exhibited at Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France); Denny Gallery (New York, NY); and Locust Projects (Miami, FL), among other international art venues. Hawk Swanson’s artwork is included in the permanent and MPP collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Scholarly writing about Hawk Swanson has been published in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies and TDR: The Drama Review. Her artwork has been profiled and reviewed in the Guardian, Chicago Tribune, and Associated Press. She teaches in the Sculpture Departments at Rhode Island School of Design and Virginia Commonwealth University. Her visiting artist lecture appointments include Yale University, Columbia University, New York University, Maryland Institute College of Art, McGill University, East Carolina University, Hunter College, and Fashion Institute of Technology. Hawk Swanson holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2006).


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Additional Info

  • Título: Doll Closet
  • Holdings: photo gallery, video (HIDVL)
  • Duração: 00:10:07
  • Idioma: English
  • Data da performance: 10-17 Dec 2014
  • Lugar: The Watermill Center, Hamptons, New York, USA; Broadcast via Livestream beginning at 11am (EST) each morning with daily call-ins from doll owner “Jesse” beginning at noon (EST);
  • Credits: Conceived by Amber Hawk Swanson; Performed by Amber Hawk Swanson and Jesse; Video production and live streaming by Renato Velarde.

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