The Identity Project
Exhibition at Highways Performance Space, April 2016
The Identity Project exhibit consists of documentation and photographs of five out-of-sight performances conducted by Allison M Keating to question the authenticity of identity and gender. Through a series of experiments, Keating discovered five personas that make up her identity; The Manipulative Bitch, The Abused Housewife, The Vulgar Man, The Neglected Child, and a drag queen named Penny Witabang. These identities do not pertain to the artist’s real life, nor her biography, however they somehow feel inalterably real. As an artist interested in pushing the boundaries of what “performance” is, Keating attempts to erase the line between her real life and these fictitious identities by manufacturing scenarios where the behaviors characterizing these five personas occurs naturally. The art objects on display at Highways are the aftermath, residue, and documentation of these performances, capturing the fear, exhilaration, confusion, and sadness that Keating experienced through journal writing, photography, video, sound recordings, and objects of witness.
The Identity Project
In 2015, Allison M Keating lived through a ski accident, a friend’s suicide and a car crash. After the crash she had a hallucination where she asked God why this happened to her. God told her she was going to die next March so she better stop wasting time and start enjoying life. Originating from the trauma, then grown into an intellectual pursuit, Keating started exploring her deepest fears and sense of self as if she were going to die tomorrow. As a theater artist seeking to push the boundaries of what “performance” is, Keating erased the line between her real life and five self discovered identities by manufacturing fictitious scenarios where their behaviors could occur naturally. The Manipulative Bitch seduced a rich man to take her on an expensive trip. The Abused Housewife was beaten by her husband. The Neglected Child was left isolated in a room. The Vulgar Man picked up women. Penny Witabang, a drag queen, created a blog about living life to the fullest, (www.pennywitabang.tumblr.com).
This book serves as a deposit for the aftermath, residue, and documentation of these performances, capturing the fear, exhilaration, confusion, and sadness that Keating experienced through uncensored journal writing, emails with collaborators, photography, and objects of witness.