Testing Waters, 1997

Testing Waters explored personal dilemmas of being an “AIDS widow,” i.e., a surviving partner of a person who has died of AIDS. For the performance, which took place during an art opening for Art on the Edge of Fashion at ASU Art Museum, Sale wore one pair of britches and carried another pair as an empty form. The britches were connected by a sixteen-foot padded canvas appendage. Throughout the course of the evening, he talked to people and offered to read them evocative stories he had written. He also invited selected individuals to go on a date with him—a twenty-minute exchange for which his ‘date’ would don the conjoined pair of britches. The project exposed the ambiguity of experimenting with new acquaintances and tension between wanting and not wanting a new relationship, between wanting someone to fill the old britches and wanting to be by oneself, between wanting to seduce and being unresponsive to seduction.

3-hour performance, Art on the Edge of Fashion at ASU Art Museum, Tempe, AZ