Spit

(1997-1999)

A salivary, of an interior liquid. Fluid which is only public when tied to insults or humiliation. Here, this fluid becomes active, it comes out of a body in order to fill an other. The bottle archives the secretions. The secretions remain inaudible, almost.

PRESENTATION HISTORY
– The first spit piece was a video shot at the Western Front in Vancouver in early 1997. The video titled Sometimes The Memory Is Enough (duration: 3:43).
– The video was screened at Send + Receive, Winnipeg in 1998 and the Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie, 1997.
– The text was first published in Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Issue 21, 11:1, 1999.
– The bottle was first exhibited for FEEL – Tactile Media in 2004, curated by Pieter van Bogaert at Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium.
– Text, audio (from Vito Acconci’s undoing) and bottle displayed as part of The Spit Museum at TENT for the Murmur exhibition curated by Edwin Carels for the Rotterdam Film Festival, 2005.
– The bottle was also part of the Display Disgust Series for EXCESS in 2006, curated by Pieter van Bogaert at Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium. Display design by Ann Clicteur.
– The same spit bottle was used in one of the actions during Separate and in the video for Vito Acconci’s undoing.
– It was included in both retrospective solo exhibitionsTrou in 2006 and Sale Sono in 2008.

number 1 monday september 28 1998

I have an empty glass in hand ready to be filled with my spit. I had forgotten how hard it is to spit for an extended stretch of time. I was conscious of what I had ingested just before, how it affects the saliva’s viscosity, its willingness to flow, its volume. after fifteen minutes I had to get a drink of water to wet my drying mouth. one glass of water on one hand, one glass of spit in the other. I thought to myself, I must not confuse the two. sure enough I did. drank it anyway. I am disgusted with myself. in/out mouth. when I had accumulated enough spit I went to my room to get the spit bottle to add this new batch to it. I started the spit bottle in early nineteen ninety-seven, I thought I would produce one per year, guess I’m a lazy spitter. I had not opened the bottle since last may, five months ago. took the cork out, a loud pop, almost an explosion, and an incredible stench filled the room. the stench of death. the smell of decomposition, of composting gone evil, of bacteria in agony.

number 2 tuesday september 29 1998

feels like I’m chewing, masticating something more ephemeral than food. less substantial, less consistent, less there. after the first few easy spits, I have to generate it by moving my mouth around, inciting the salivary glands to produce more. I wonder how they know that I want more. I wonder how I know how to produce more. I look at myself in the mirror, looks like I’m chewing and kissing at the same time. a chewed kiss, a kissed chew. when the lips part there’s a small sound, the wet lips detach. it sounds so much like my dad’s now regular mouth ritual, I notice it when he’s driving. I don’t know what it is. he has cancer and maybe that’s how he savours it. I wonder if he knows he’s doing it. it creeps me out. he creeps me out. I let the saliva drip into the glass, it could hardly be called spitting, there’s no velocity, just gravity. it just drips. it falls out, like the bottom from underneath me when I feel like killing him.

number 3 wednesday september 30 1998

I do the pouring into the spit bottle as fast as I can. still, it reeks every time. I put my nose near burning incense, I pour the spit, still the putrid cloud awaits me when I lift my head back up. all the dead rivers are in this bottle. all the corpses awaiting autopsies. all the factory farms. all the wars are in here. spit bottle, thank you very much. you bring me home misery. you are from inside me, and there’s always more. I want to collect the spit from all the dead, nothing wasted. I want to collect, catalog, classify all spit. empty the water reservoirs, spit fill them. I want human spit out of my faucet. wash the lettuce with it, do the dishes. here’s your spit tea, dear. I want to shower in it. I want you to shower in it.

number 4 thursday october 1 1998

it was late and I was tired, half asleep spitting into the cup. it accumulates too slowly, it’s a dry run. finally, enough is there to justify opening up the death bottle and I pour the day’s production inside. if orgasm is the little death (la petite mort) spitting might be the littlest death, it’s low in the hierarchy of disgust, it’s negligible. it’s invisible, not even there. formless. when you kiss, lick, bite, the tongue and teeth take the front stage. kiss, lick, bite. though, without saliva, they would be saharas. spit kiss, lick spit, spit bite.

number 5 friday october 2 1998

it’s starting to feel like a chore. but by the end of the evening, my saliva seems to suggest its own expulsion. I feel it, like an excess, somehow I can’t just swallow it like any other. it wants to be kept, immortalized, it wants to be exhibited, it wants to disgust forever. it wants to be bottled and fermented. where are the spit museums? the spit web sites? the spit peep shows? the spit institutions? the spit discourses? the spit paradigms? the spit theories? we are all salivaphiles.
 

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