A writer's Diary
Rosekill Performance Art Center, NY
Photos courtesy of: Jana Astanov
A Writer’s Diary – ad memoriam rei perpetuam’ is a site-specific durational performance art piece that charts Virginia Woolf’s last four years of life leading to her heroic suicide on 28 March 1941 that ended her battling with then unknown bipolar disorder.
In a tormented hour-long procession, crippled by the weight of metal buckets attached to her feet, the performer reflects on Woolf’s most significant diary pages that express her grappling with the fluctuating nature of her mental condition. Throughout her determined march, she encounters several rocks that she collects unfailingly and stores in the buckets. Each stone initiates the ritualistic gesture of tearing a precise page of Woolf’s diary as well as of shredding a piece of the dress she is wearing. Both page and fabric pieces are then devotedly nailed on the ground creating an ongoing installation that celebrates Woolf’s resilient attachment to her writing as an act of identity, memory and survival.
Both diary and dress are thus gradually shredded until the performer reaches naked, with the metal buckets brimming in stones, the side of a lake. She gasps through Woolf’s suicide letter to her husband Leonard and then throws herself in the water holding onto the hefty buckets.