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September 23, 2017

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us

by prophecy / How to Tattoo / 0 Comments

duration – 12:09
September 2011

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us began as an idea to make a performance for video modeled after the endurance work of Kate Gilmore. My plan was simple and straightforward: I would be bound by duct tape to a chair (originally I had contemplated being tied up with rope) and make my great escape while a video camera documented the event. Whereas Gilmore’s work attests to her strength as a woman I wished for my piece to function as a testament to the homosexual’s struggle in contemporary society.
It was pointed out to me almost immediately that one of the many things that make Kate Gilmore’s video work so remarkable is that she performs original stunts of her own creation. Despite my best efforts, I could come up neither with my own premiere challenge nor figure out a way to give this video my voice… And so I gave it the voice of the controversial Westboro Church’s Fred Phelps, the founding father of
I regret that I have to reference this psychopath at all. The cult leader Phelps first received fame in 1991 when his church held picket signs that contained cold messages like “Your faggot son is already burning in Hell” outside of a young Wyoming man’s funeral. Matthew Shepherd had been severely beaten and left hanging on a barbed wire fence until he died. It is worth noting that I was 15 years old and beginning to confront fears and facts that I was gay myself at this time.
More recently Phelps has been a media sensation for leading his church this time to picket outside of the funerals of U.S. military soldiers. I began to imagine how horrible it would be if forced to listen to the raving of this lunatic while trying to escape the chair and decided to insert bits of Phelps’ ranting to give a sense of what it feels like to take on other people’s fear and anger.
It made sense to me for the duct tape to be vibrant pink, a color projected onto gay people first by the Nazis in the form of a pink triangle tattoo. The choice to perform in my underwear speaks to vulnerability, just as the setting within a small closet hopefully lends itself to feelings of imprisonment. I chose to film my challenge from above so that the viewer would be forced to look down on the struggle, which is essentially the thing I hope any audience would take from this piece.
It was suggested to me that it be projected onto the floor and I could not envision it being viewed any other way.

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