Consider the speculum a tool of looking inward in more ways than one. Irina Varina’s SPECULUM DIARIES was born of an assignment at the Headlong Performance Institute to “create a self-portrait in five minutes or less.” What follows is a show that emphasizes the importance of being both in touch and in conversation with your body. Varina presents several drafts of a self-portrait through movement and varied modes of narration, revealing the process that led to the making of this show.
SPECULUM DIARIES is about longing, imperfection and hiding from neither. This is a world of imaginary friends and imaginary lovers, unanswered text messages and the words of cherished writers and artists that help her make sense of it all. SPECULUM DIARIES guides you into her bedroom as she spoons with her lover, lets you in on a discussion between Russian censors and Svetlana Alexievich about her portrayal of Russian women soldiers in WWII, and leaves you pressed against the window watching people on bicycles all seemingly living more connected lives than her. Varina presents such a raw, rich interior life that you almost believe her when she cheekily declares that she “couldn’t care less about you real people” except she takes such good care to make things real for her audience.
[1fiftyone gallery + art space, 3312 Kensington Ave] September 14–24, 2016; fringearts.com/speculum-diaries.