“If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still—if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m grateful that so many of those moments are nice.”
—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
ghost girl is about dealing with the idea of time undone. When I turned 28, I was told about my Saturn’s return, which is the period when Saturn moves into the same position as when you were born, signaling a three-year span of great change and challenges. During that year I was living on my own for the first time and just started performing in drag. I entered an entirely new artistic community of creative LBGTQIA people living in Brooklyn that were also on this precipice of adulthood. I’d grown up with the idea of a trajectory of school, marriage, children, settling down, and slowly realized this was not how it would be for me. The people in this community had chosen their own families, careers, identities, and mythologies. There is something traumatic about the fall from the expectations of life and purpose, and the bittersweet mix of disappointment and the thrill in the chance to chart your own course.
In this installation, ghost girl is adrift in a culture obsessed with fixing oneself in a particular place, grounding the self in a point in history, and finding she’s not only unhinged, but has been forever. Time collapses onto itself in a rubble of rainbow shards while Saturn’s rings unravel into floppy ribbons of muslin. A large black hat appears suddenly in the corner like the looming slab monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The hat is tipped to nights sunken in a cabaret of powders, queens, old songs, and red bars. On the wall a drawing of a black cake sits sliced for a birthday and a suicide sundae is assembled for just one of many endings.
—written by Matthew de Leon (2016)