Artist’s Uniform #5: The Year I Became A Zebra

(02/14/2007-02/28/2008)

My next uniform played off the question "If you were an animal, what would you be?" Artist’s Uniform #5: The Year I Became A Zebra sought to make my own answer -- "a zebra" -- not only a reality but also incorporating my herd into the process. I sent out an invitation that contextualized my desire to become a zebra* and outlined the steps I was taking. The most important was an open call for my herd’s assistance in creating my stripes -- I would wear only the generous donations of “zebra-striped” clothing received from family and friends. And I had been sporting a mane (not a Mohawk!) since my move from Boston to Cambridge in March of 2006.

My transition to Harvard life was a little rocky mostly due to its overemphasis on civilized behavior and cultivated discussion. Fortunately I discovered a few ancestors at Harvard’s Natural History Museum and was able to conduct some research into the psychological and societal impact of transforming into another animal. Supposedly it has never actually happened. But if you did change into another animal, how would another human know? It’s not like you could just tell them! Maybe my real reason, I figured, to announce the new project to my herd was just in case I escaped to the wild and never came back. They would at least know I was content in the new form they'd helped create.

*Note: In addition to having an attraction to black and white animals, I also relate to the zebra’s inability to be domesticated (and/or lassoed) by humans. This is partly due to their unpredictable (impulsive) and aggressive (antagonistic) behavior: once they bite into something, they don’t like to let go! I am also intrigued by the individualistic markings that adorn and identify each of these beautiful equines. Plus, I love their hairdos!

Zebra Invite Image Me at MoMA Digging a hole for a swingset Faith and Me Reading Drunk or Tired ??? In Marfa Bari, 3 Zebras, and Me!!! Me and my Floorscrapers sculpture