Trust My Gut: A Drag Opera Surgery was a collaboration with Johnny Forever.
This nine hour durational installation references Orlan’s televised performance art plastic surgeries of the early nineties, relating high art shock and cabaret camp to the goings on in the private lives-made-public of everyday people. It is a living sculpture performed by characters selected from the drag oeuvre of Hoicka and Forever.
Between performers and audience hangs a 9’x11’ crocheted replica of a YouTube window. Inside this frame Hoicka and Forever enact a mock soap operatic surgical drama in drag. Uncle Wink, Hoicka’s campy and endearing male fantasy persona lies on a surgical table. Mini Maul, Forever’s surrealist punk-rock-queen meets Christian-country-star alter ego tinkers above him with an array of “surgical” tools. Uncle Wink remains fully conscious while gloriously splayed open. From time to time, doctor and patient break into lip synced duets chosen by audience members from an easily accessible playlist from a laptop computer. In order to hear their chosen song, the audience member must put on an available pair of headphones to enjoy a private “YouTube” listening experience. As the surgeon crafts the patient’s innards, a live feed camera records the surgical procedure in extreme close-up, which is displayed on a monitor in the “operating room.”
Trust My Gut was first presented in Extra-Rational (2011), FADO’s Emerging Artist Series at Xpace curated by Gale Allen. It was later presented by Feminist Art Gallery (Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue) and UpArt Contemporary Art Fair (2011) at the Gladstone. Over the course of four days we transformed the space into a waiting room, pre-surgery, surgery and post-surgery. It was again performed at the Rhubarb Festival (2012) at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, curated by Laura Nanni where the piece took on more of a theatrical turn.
Recently “Untitled: YouTube Frame” was featured independently at Oakville Galleries in Depth of Perception (2015) curated by Jon Davies.