moby dick; or, the whale

Moby Dick; or The Whale, 2017, participatory piece/book, 5,25 x 8 inches

As a response to the artist affective history with sex workers this project draws from the fact that Elizabeth Shawn Melville, Augusta Melville and Helen Maria Melville, Herman Melville’s wife and sisters, handwrote most of the original manuscripts of his works, including Moby Dick.  It was proposed to Catherine, a massage therapist in Chicago, to handwrite, by tracing a current publication, the entirety of the book by hand. Instead of receiving a massage, the task of writing was done during the time of the session. 44 massage sessions, 44 hours, were necessary to complete the job. After the sessions I wrote notes from memory registering dialogues and descriptions of our encounter and its connection to my affective history.