Artist Spotlight, Arts & Culture

Artist Spotlight Series: Elaine Thap


Artist Spotlight Series
October 12, 2016

By Elaine Thap


Dear ____,

The most writing I’ve done in months is to you, to myself. This practice is part documentation and part abjectification. I’m in my late twenties and struggling to maintain adult responsibilities as a single woman like anyone else. I’ve been reading a lot of Chris Kraus’ books and I subscribe to that sad girl phenomena, the longing and disappointment of the conceptual fuck. My performance art grapples with intimacy and exoticism of my identity. Alone, but not lonely. Probably.


Untitled, Better Than The Alternative, Thomas Young Gallery, Boston, 2016


My work also exists in dream worlds: I have an active practice of lucid dreaming, astral projection, and ritual. I dream a lot of my mother, who died two years ago and my grandmother who died 5 years ago. Every aspect of one’s dream is an internalized part of the self.


I share with you some dreams, names omitted.


I dreamed that I moved to LA. I packed my things and asked _____ to find us a place.


Untitled, Venice Beach, 2016 photo by Hollie Sullivan 


I had a dream that I was in our old uncle’s house. My mother talked about not going to work because she probably won a million dollars. We were talking about going out. There were a lot of things happening and I wasn’t sure about which one to go to. I tried to wear a dress with leggings by putting tights over it. It was super formal. The tights had a pretty floral print on it. I think my grandmother was there too. I also remember overhearing _____ talk about me because ____wanted to see me and this bothered her. ____ eventually came over, which was awkward, and then we went into his room. We were walking to the performance. I remember seeing _____ and ___. Someone created an installation out of speakers and vibrators. People took turns messing with it. When you pressed on the tapes a sax sound came out of them. ____ and I were walking back and it was really lush and green. He was picking flowers and I told him I was afraid to do that because I didn’t want the neighbors to get mad. A poodle-like dog barked at me and I lost my flower. Then we ran into a neighborhood cat, whose image was on some of the decorative vases. It was Oreo. Somehow we got onto the train but it was more like walking into someone’s house.


 I had a dream I had met _____ at Middle East again. We went back to his place and had sex. I don’t think it was eventful.


 I had a strange dream that ____________ might have passed while I was away. Because he died, people were still trying to get a show, people like _______ were the ones giving me the news. I went outside and found ____________, she was writing a letter. I indirectly told her the news but tried to keep it ambiguous.


The dream I had before that, we were collectively trying to escape someone who was trying to hurt us. When I say us, I can’t remember who else was with me but it was a group of us. I know we were being hunted but towards the end, the man hunting us was just trying to play us guitar.


I dreamed of a new suit in my tarot deck. They were poetic words with blank space. They looked like a landscaped version of Cards Against Humanity.


I had a crazy dream where it was family gathering maybe in __________’s backyard. Dad was there which was strange. I think it was a celebration of some sort, probably akin to ______’s wedding or maybe a birthday party. All of my family members were there. Then _____ showed up and we told him get the fuck out. At some point I was with _____, _____, and ______. I think they had several pans of oil going for some reason and we told them to shut it off. At some point_________ and I were walking and she fell and took me down with her. Her teeth shattered and fell out all over the sidewalk and somehow embedded in my cheek. I lost half of my left front tooth. We were driving to the hospital to get this fixed. We were worried about how much it was going to cost.


I had a dream there was a young rapist on the loose and he was friends with a lot of people. They didn’t really see him as guilty. I was upset and remember feeling very uncomfortable around him. I knew that he would rape or assault someone again.


I had a dream I was racing in a kayak with 3 others but it was frustrating to get started.


I dreamt of going to the beach with my mother and not having a second towel to dry myself off with.


Untitled, Revere Beach, Boston, 2016 photo by Hollie Sullivan 


I had a dream I had cut all of my hair off into a bad pixie. I would see _____ in a couple of days to get my hair fixed. I think I was on a bus talking to a friend. I remember having the realization that my color was gone and I was sad and regretted it.


I dreamt of having a bunch of Canadian money but no way to convert it to American dollars. So it was useless.


I had a dream that we were moving again. It was with my family but ____ was also there. We were trying to figure out if I had time to move. I was the only person who hadn’t packed at all. We were debating what to take. I had my own moving truck. ____ was running around doing errands. I don’t know where I was moving to. It was more of the stressful process of moving. I remember seeing my grandmother there.


I had a dream I helped rescue people out of a house party on fire. Everyone got out safe.


After I tried to organize my tarot cards in order to see the story. I realized that I had about 12 cards missing. They were in the bedroom and probably elsewhere. There were also several cards that were new to me. They were the wands but with a different story.


I dreamt of seeing _____ play and going up to him and telling him that he wasn’t very good. Haha I can’t remember the rest of the dream


I had a dream I was working a Taste of Northampton or flea market situation. I saw ____ and ______ there. I went up to ______ and told her that she should probably go because I know where every knife is in the place. My sister was also there and was also happy to fight her. They left. 


Untitled, Revere Beach, Boston, 2016 photo by Hollie Sullivan


You can see some of my performances coming up:

October 22, 2016 1-5PM
CARE: performances in Jamaica Plain, please contact me for the address.

October 28, 2016 7-11PM
Tarot Readings at Nightshift Brewery, Everett, MA

October 29, 2016 9-Midnight
Art Party 4 Halloween in Somerville, please contact me for the address.

November 5, 2016 – January 14, 2017
A Group Thing, Thomas Young Gallery, performance TBA


Posi-Post-Abjectification, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Brooklyn, NY, 2016


Cover Image: Imminent Intimate, Bedroom Installation, Boston 2015

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