Sasamoto placed eight stainless-steel mixing bowls on the floor around the narrow gallery. An ice pick stood upright inside each bowl, and on its sharp tip balanced a smaller steel bowl, face down. Above these precarious contraptions hung large chunks of ice suspended in loosely woven baskets made of brightly colored shoelaces. As the ice melted, the pinging of the drips on the metal was amplified through small microphones, filling the gallery with percussive, Tin Pan Alley-like sounds. Frozen inside the ice were small items, including keys, eyeglasses and wristwatches, symbolizing the "owned" nature of objects. According to Sasamoto, at the time of death, people become the objects that they are physically close to, in the way ice becomes water—a theory she articulated during her performances. continue reading
Sasamoto performances are surreal, self-contained worlds of free associations that marry distorted everyday objects with lectures and monologues, which are both melancholy and amusing. Perhaps neither the artist nor the viewer can fully comprehend what is taking place, but Sasamoto has found her own way of deferring that understanding. As she says everything we don't comprehend goes inside a pickling pot with the hope that it tastes better in the future.