Projects > the sleepover

The Sleepover series (still photographs and a short experimental film called Sleepover Secrets, 2020, HD video 06:57 min) 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.

The 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). The stills became new work, pictures beyond the straightforward installation shots 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.

There are three movements to this imaginary gathering: Arrival and Play (I), Dream Land (II), and Re-Entry (III). 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 just how the memory of a sleepover looks but also how a sleepover feels under one girl's skin.

For the experimental short, Sleepover Secrets, I use a diverse collection of original and found footage--from classic Hollywood (The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio) to iconic coming of age stories (The River, Now and Then, The Virgin Suicides, A Angel at My Table) to contemporary social media posts--Sleepover time remains fluid, nonlinear, personal, and worthy of protection.