The Incredible Disappearing Woman is about art, sex and death at the US–Mexico border. It is also about how and why we relate to political violence via technological mediation. To suggest ways in which we as cultural consumers evoke and respond to larger social forces, I have put radically divergent archetypes together in the confined space of a “live chat” room connected to the internet. The actual audience in the theater will watch a drama unfolds that is produced in response to instructions from four off–stage characters who appear to be transmitting them via the internet to three characters on stage. and assume roles and scenes in accordance with commands. They are joined by a third character who is played by a decrepit robot who does not understand that she is not human.
The scenes on stage are devoted to fantasies about necrophilia that are loosely based on the true story of an American male artist who traveled to Mexico in the 70s to rent the body of a dead women, have sex with her and document it as art. I invoke this moment in the history of performance to explore what it means to have to play dead in order to live in all its political, techno–cultural and gendered implications. As the performers go through the requested sketches, they allude to real life situations of religious and political repression. However, as low–paid service workers catering to telematic consumers of violence, they dramatize these histories as endlessly rerun games in which actors are “meat puppets.”
What joins the characters in this work is their relationship with Death. On stage, Death is embodied as a woman, a modern incarnation of the venerated Mexican archetype of La Pelona (the bald one). She lies before us as a reminder of our limits, and as the other inside each one of us. As Octavio Paz wrote in The Labyrinth of Solitude, “Death is a mirror which reflects the vain gesticulations of the living…Death defines life; a death depicts life in immutable forms; we do not change except to disappear. ”

The Incredible Disappearing Woman is my attempt to reflect on the ethical and aesthetic question of how to make the actuality of political violence intelligible in an information–saturated culture dominated by simulation. In the recent rush to celebrate the expanded communication potential afforded by new technologies, we often assume that the increased circulation of information necessarily yields enhanced possibilities of substantive intercultural interaction. It is time to ask ourselves how much we want to know about what we ask to see.
The interactive chat studio is presented as a virtual museum of transgressive acts for sophisticated consumers of perversion. Customers who log on choose from a list of “galleries” showcasing a variety of live performances that breach social, political and sexual taboos, and relay commands to the performers to shape the acts according to their particular tastes. The two live characters onstage play out the fantasies of their virtual clients, and dress up
The In-Transit Festival, House of World Cultures, Berlin
The Institute of Contemporary Art, London
The TBA Festival, Portland
The International Performance Festival, Pancevo, Serbia