Sex Worker Outreach Project, Tampa Bay Area Chapter brings the Jesus, Mary and Joseph of sex worker artists to my little old beach-urban rental here in FL.
It was just a week after the new year. A girl's voice on my work line, on a Sunday morning.
"Hi, I'm Juniper Fleming and I was amazed to find there was a SWOP chapter in Tampa. I am a sex worker artist and I drove down in my station wagon from New York with my partner and my kid because the city is freezing now and I just graduated from art school and I am trying to do documentary art about the life, death, monsterization and erasure of Aileen Wournos in Ocala. Which is like...a place I have no words for. Can i ask you about it? Well, i know Florida is a big place but I was so happy to get your number from the chapter website that really I just wondered if maybe my partner and my kid could drive over and hang out with you."
It was some kind of belated Christmas miracle for me. re-affirming the value of being a place holder, of holding the space for a tipping point. In this Florida place that has almost disappeared me. Here, in a very unlikely Southern state jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico. I made a website, sort of social justice meets/social experiment meets a career title to define my art. I made the SWOP website and I was found by beautiful, dreadlocked Juniper and her partner, a trans young Norwegian man and their kid Lilo. Here is Lilo, communing with my damaged shelter rescue chihoo-a--Lilo being a kind of Assisi figure.
Here's a quote from Juniper on Tits and Sass. She is speaking of about her project (not the Wournos one), which consists of remaking iconic Western art works, creating photographic reproductions in which she replaces the main figures in the paintings with sex workers.
"Honestly, my favorites are the ones I haven’t made yet. I love seeing a painting and imagining collaborating with one of my friends to reclaim it. It kind of makes all of history ours. Like we have declared the right to move freely throughout archetypes, time, and space. We are anything we project ourselves into.?
We sat on my couch and ate hummus and berries and Lilo painted and Johan wore his leopard print capris and told me about their inverted turtle back in Staten Island. They met when she was showing work in Berlin and staying at a hippie commune.
These are real people, these are unbelievable people. Here is there bunny named Emma Goldman, that travels cross country with them. She is fearlessly eating grass in the humid feral FL night, in the alley beside my rental.
As for Aileen, I could not give Juniper any useful coherent language about how Ocala is 9you can disappear into the ground there), how the FL interior is, how trucker is, how it is, in the 80's for abused lesbians. I feel it and I know more so than someone who was not raised here. There;s a survivor guilt aspect too. Like I came from where she came from and I owe it to her to help Juniper make art from her story. But my path has been to go into the disappearing place which is FL and re-appear, sex/art/work/therapy. For aileen, she got disappeared 6 times over, six death sentences. I don;t know why anyone of us gets to be that one and not the other. And Juniper and I can/have to live in a world where it makes sense to look into the darkness of sexist treatment of serial killers. Court transcript being almost flattering toward Bundy, in comparison to those that still exist for Aileen. Where it is necessary to face down the darkness on all sides. The dehumanized and the dehumanizer, across gender, the cost of mixing the purchase of intimacy with street survival.
I am very blessed to have had Juniper bring Aileen's sprit into my apartment.
, where this blog lives now. because it can be read and posted to through that app, one-handed, on my back, by a body of water, or in the cool olive green light above my mattress. This is articulation my spine had not dreamed of before. Tweets by @thebodypoetik
My blog lived on Tumblr for a minute
because it is so much easier to access from my phone. fallinginrealtime.tumblr This is the feed. No, I don't like it. I can't add another virtual box. I'll make due with Twitter.