Hidden Acts

Hidden Acts: Balancing Truths

I will tell the truth
I will not lie
I will reveal that which has been kept secret
We all will wipe the slate clean
We all will not lie about our family history
We all will tell the truth
I will divulge a secret
I will be free of the past
I will come to terms with the past
We will read a story
We will tell a story anonymously
We will balance the hidden truths 

Hidden Acts: Balancing Truths is an installation that addresses secrets, “truths", kept in families. Audience members are invited to participate by adding their families untold stories. The inspiration for this work grew out of the response I received from Seams-Sew Ordinary, an installation created autumn 2005 that pieced together the buried narrative of my grandmother’s life. At age 93, my grandmother passed away still holding a family “truth” - the birth of a baby boy long before my mother’s arrival. Observers noted that similar stories existed in their own family histories. Examining the “truths” (the un-recorded history) is important to people’s lives and for collective healing. For change to occur the truth must be mined. Hidden Acts: Balancing Truths hopes to provide a place for that dialogue to start.

Two dresses of human scale hang on pulleys (one white and the other black). The white one rests near the ground while the black hangs above. When the viewer activates the installation the dresses can be brought into balance or change positions. The contents hidden under the white dress (the “truths” or family stories) are revealed when it is hoisted up. Over the run of the installation community members will have an opportunity to offer their stories anonymously (as a confessional) left on small slips of cloth to hang inside the white dress. The families’ “truths” add-up over the month of installation to change the balance.

2006. The Portland Building.
Sponsored by Regional Arts & Culture Council