Tonight went so quickly.
The first phase of Right of Admission began tonight.
We wore matching "nude" elegantly casual dresses with small peplums, reaching just above our knees. "Nude" tights encased our legs. Black shiny patent leather heels crushed my toes.
On entering the gallery at ROOM, audience members were invited to be classified. We provided a variety of tools for measuring: calipers for measuring small distances on the face, tape measures for measuring height as well as the contours of the body, paint charts for measuring shades of skin. Audience members were given forms to fill in, with the assistance of officials, including myself, Farieda and Nyaki. They were photographed against a "nude" background of their choice and their images logged on the computer.
The extensive measurements of weight, height, skin colour, hair texture, as well as the miniature measurements of the face were recorded as data and then uploaded onto a program on the office computer, where we would wait for an appraisal.
By performing these intimate actions and inviting audience members to fill in these forms, we hoped to engage with them by negotiating these signifiers of the physicality of the body as well as identity.
Judgements of racial classification were read out. Black! White! Coloured! Other! Indian!
The responses to these judgements varied. Some people were pleased to have a different classification than what was fixed in their minds. Others less so.
We invited the audience to classify us. So we too were measured and weighed and judged.
Farieda and I moved over to the plinth bearing hygiene tools, deodorant, body spray, mouth spray were collected there and we took it in turns to distribute these scents to mask our natural odours. Standing next to two chairs, we faced each other, slipping off our heels and taking a seat. Farieda in the chair, me seated on the floor between her legs. She undid my hair and stuck pencils into it, counting each one. 1...2...3...40...41...42... until there were no pencils left. I shook my head and all the pencils fell out. I counted them again as I picked them up and returned them to her. She took the brush and brushed my hair, lathering a think layer of gel onto it. Taking a bobble, she secured my hair into a bun and brushed it back until it lay flat against my skull. Bring a black, lace head band, she puts it on my head and pulls it forward until the top of my forehead is covered and my ears nearly obscured. She passes me small pearl earings, which I push into my ears. I am done. I am neat. I am acceptable.