Best Performance Art (2012)

"Invisible Shell" by Erica Felicella

The Oak Cliff artist designed her solitary confinement in the form of a Plexiglas box. Felicella was on a mission to explore the full range of human emotions that comes from self-imposed isolation, done in plain view. Constructed in her studio and erected in an empty lot behind the Kessler, the box wasn't much larger than a phone booth and it became her dwelling for 48 hours. She even wore a catheter. We only saw movements from the artist as she worked, scribbling a mantra repeatedly onto sheets of colored paper, which when finished were crumpled and dropped to the floor. As they fell, they filled in the limited space around her, until they reached her waist, like water in a dunk tank. Hundreds of curious neighbors gathered to watch and lend support of her mission, but Felicella did not engage with them. Instead, she quietly observed and absorbed their presence. Those who couldn't sit vigil watched her confinement remotely through a live feed that the artist set up before she started her adventure. And when she emerged, wobbly, tired and hungry, we felt whole again. We had gotten one of our own back. So while Felicella's project was meant to research her personal psychological inner workings, we found that it made us take a look at our own emotions and ties to one another.


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