Forgiveness

20 oranges.
2 participants.
1 bowl of water.
1 bar of soap.
Time.
Patience.

To forgive is to grant relief from a burden, be it a person, situation or event. The act of forgiveness hinges on being able to articulate that space in which the seemingly rigid parts of a situation are suddenly connected by a flexible and yet tenuous understanding between two people. Sometimes this happens in words and sometimes it is expressed silently through our senses and actions towards one another.

In this sculptural performance two participants share the ritual of peeling and eating 20 oranges with only one hand each while standing inside an intimate space with no doorways or exits. After consuming all twenty oranges they wash one another’s hands in a small basin. Culling from religious ceremonies of breaking bread together or washing away sins, this ritual makes visceral the effort required when engaging in the emotional and psychological act of forgiving.

Ingesting orange after orange the two performers hands grew stickier and their bellies swelled. What seemed easy at first, took on an unforeseen weight as they struggled to complete the task before them. Viewers of the work are limited to seeing only the hands of the performers through a small opening in the walls and hearing the sighs, chews, ripping of peels and eventual lathering and rinsing of sticky hands; a view into how something sweet can turn bitter and the complex negotiation of forgiveness.