Like all works of art, "My Life as a Doll" by Tara Conley and Tria Wood has a specific audience and for two reasons, it's not me. One is because my insurance company won't cover the medical cost that I would incur to become a member of their primary audience. Plus, I can't afford the surgery and a closet full of shoes by Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. (Why would anyone go under the knife to wear sensible shoes and support hose?) Two is because I know that third-wave feminism is not a surfing fade and am vaguely aware of issues of gender politics.
In other words, women (or men) who embody the principles of contemporary feminism and are well-versed in gender studies and gender politics, are not the audience of this work. I know this because I asked a lot of women at the show after I walked through it. The responses fell into two categories: those that thought the message of the show was "obvious," and those who didn't and said things like "I think that every day" and "That's my life."
The conceit of the installation is that it's a life-size doll house. To fully experience it, you sit on the Booty Bench, and booty up.
|audience members put their booty on the bench and
then put booties over their shoes
The color palette of the entire is house is Barbie-brilliant as if the fictional interior designer of this house is attempting to combat domestic dysfunction with cheerful colors. So if you're depressed or hung over or both, I recommend wearing your rehab glasses.
|Honey Table and Chair
The closet is chock full of clothing labeled for each occasion such as "decide and don't look back panties" and "it's nice to be seen slacks"...more simple truths brutally, plainly stated.
|dresses in the closet with labels such as
|Tria Woods giving a tour of the "cock & tail" room
My favorite part is the most meretricious, the mirrors. They have the silver egoistic flash inherent in mirrors but are subtlety undermined by sometimes comic, sometimes cutting text.
|the mirrors are mounted outside the house
|It's really hard for me to turn down attention.
|I DON'T LIKE WHAT YOUR FACE IS SAYING
Conley and Woods plan to take this installation on the road. Personally, I hope they take it to a mall near me such as the Galleria or First Colony. In that context, I think it would be revelatory.