“It’s about to happen.”
“Any minute now.”
“Are you ready?”
These ominous lines boomed over the speakers at the Center for the Arts (CFA)’s lower art gallery this past Thursday, immersing the audience into a new and peculiar world. Bridget Moser’s “When I Am Through With You There Won’t Be Anything Left” was not a series of paintings, a dance or a play. It was something else entirely, something unfiltered, raw and unabashedly original.
As audience members took their seats, they faced a hand-painted set of pastel pink, purple and blue. Moser, a performance and video artist, emerged in matching purple shorts and a baby blue top, fitting into a soft, childlike aesthetic.
But once the show began, it quickly derailed into raunchiness, unpredictable body imagery and existential dread.
As a performance artist, Moser accessed deep levels of her psyche to portray profound ideas in humorous and often ridiculous ways.
Within the first few minutes, Moser pulled out two dismembered feet, wondering if there are human body parts in heaven. Then, she donned a pair of skin gloves, slapping them against her thighs while contemplating, “Is it bad to hate my mother-in-law’s tattoo?” and “Is it so bad to tell my roommate I’m not responsible for her boyfriend’s allergy?”
“We’re thinking about what it means to be a body. The one consistent material in the art that I make is my own body,” Moser said. “[I explore] the way that my body is coded and how that creates a lens through which I experience the world.”
After asking crucial questions about all the people she’s let down, Moser displayed a gaudy white wig “purchased at a country estate sale.” She monotonically shared that the wig makes her feel nauseous, and perhaps, might be “super weird and not normal.” Moser launched into a spiel satirizing the rich who have kitchen islands bigger than most garages, pretend to like champagne and own Samsung Galaxy S23s — all while smacking herself with a loose foot and fighting off the wig.
Throughout her show, Moser philosophized about life with a fuzzy pink skeleton and a gigantic pool floatie of a man’s ripped abs. Later, she aggressively deflated the pool floatie before dancing awkwardly to a distorted clip of Taylor’s Swift’s “Shake It Off” — specifically the “got nothing in my brain” lyrics.
“I’m a very embarrassing person, but I just keep going,” Moser admitted mid-show.
Despite its “embarrassing” exterior, Moser’s weirdness hides deep introspection. Her performance art is an avenue for airing out the inexplicable thoughts that everyone possesses, but rarely expresses.
“Nobody knows anybody beyond the skin,” Moser told a pair of feet during her performance. “And we are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own lonely skins for as long as we live on this Earth.”
Alongside writing, producing and starring in her performances, Moser creates and curates all the featured props. The pool floatie depicting a man’s body in a tiny speedo was a lucrative Ebay find, while the fur-covered skeleton was a painstakingly handmade “pandemic project.” Despite having many opportunities to sell the skeleton as a traditional artist might, Moser says she could never part with it. Her art may sometimes be silly, but it’s always heavily personal.
“There’s something about making something that’s, at times, so stupid — as this is — that there are also these moments that come up that are very exciting to me,” Moser said. “Even if I’m not sure if other people will agree, the act of investigating that… is something that just makes being alive better.”
To put an end to her existential ramblings, Moser announced that she is going somewhere beyond what anyone knows. With that, she walked straight out of the gallery, leaving audience members dumbfounded.
“Performance art can be a hard sell. It just has a bad reputation. Does it deserve it? Sometimes, not always,” Moser said. “I mean, I love it.”
Alex Novak is an arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com
The arts desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Novak is a senior arts editor at The Spectrum.