Projects > the sleepover

The Sleepover ponders the nature of time and memory, specifically girlhood time: that fluid, floral transitory period that materializes and vanishes mysteriously in pre-adulthood. For me, the remembered ritual of sleepovers epitomizes the energy and potency of this ephemeral moment.

These photographs began as installation stills, documents of dual-video projections that I created for my MFA thesis. But due to the Covid pandemic, the project held its premiere, not in a Maine art gallery as originally planned, but instead, in my guest bedroom in Florida. I projected the videos to an audience of one (my family was isolating in New York State; I was alone, in Florida), I began to make new pictures, images beyond the straightforward installation stills I had originally intended.

By manipulating the timing and positions of the moving images and material objects, I construct new associations and remembrances through colors and shapes, flowers, and bedclothes. A bedpost interacts with a story of yesterday’s blade of grass and today’s tranquil sea. Pillows and quilts reflect my personal sky, a brightly-colored jewel box of flowers and possibility. The key components to any successful sleepover Secrets, (I), Play (II), and Dreams (III) converge as prismatic clues that I reference in my titles. I am currently working on part IV, a performance piece featuring The Do-Tell Agency, a security company I created to defend girls and their dreams.

I favor poetic constructs in all aspects of my life. As such, my work is decidedly non-linear. I play with what filmmaker Barbara Hammer calls, the “simultaneity of time”, the concept that the present moment interacts with “everything else that we’ve ever done in our lives.” Using a wide variety of found and original footage, from the French new wave to Hollywood movies of the 1960s, I layer my personal narrative with subversive cultural references to feminism and gender politics. Hammer’s use of domestic objects in Maya Deren’s Sink (2011) was an important influence on this work. This is not a story of how a childhood sleepover looks, but instead, this is a story of how a sleepover, feels under this girl’s skin.

Months later I revisited The Sleepover, renaming it Sleepover Secrets. It's shorter now, yet the secrets remain.