Teddy Death (2019, in progress)

Teddy Death is a durational performance, a mourning ritual, and a road trip. It is also a series of photographs, a collection of poetry, and a solo record. Some Teddy Death poems are the basis of upcoming works by composer Ricardo Zohn–Muldoon.

Over the course of three weeks, I drive west from Chicago through the U.S. countryside with my favorite childhood plush teddy (Scoliosis, a polar bear) as my sole companion. Each day, I spend an hour at dawn disassembling Scoliosis, fiber by fiber. Twice a day, at midday and dusk, I undertake an hour-long ritual writing practice as I grieve for his disintegrating body. As we make our way, I stage photographs of Scoliosis and our surroundings that echo grand twentieth century landscapes and ethnographic portraiture.

I am making work lately with transitional objects because I feel their usefulness as containers for love as well as its complications—boredom, dissatisfaction, worry, resentment, forgetfulness. Love for a teddy unfolds in perfect conditions. Teddies contain no subjecthood to complicate the loving bond. They accept all that is offered to them yet they need nothing. Loving them does not carry the risk of loss or the pre-resonance of death. I wanted to deepen this perfect love, and introduce its perfect end.

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