About It Might Get Better
Hayley Morgenstern and Creighton Baxter received their Bachelor’s Degrees in Fine Arts from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2012. Their most recent project, It Might Get Better started in the winter of 2011 through a mutual interest in interdisciplinary performance practices that cross through fields of intellectual and creative discourses including queer and feminist theory, performance studies and art history. Throughout the last year Morgenstern and Baxter have exhibited their collaborative and individual works nationally and internationally, including events and exhibitions at Anthony Greaney (Boston), Lumen Festival (New York), Hillyer Art Space (Washington D.C.) and Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast). Baxter and Morgenstern are currently involved in projects with other artists including: Sarah Hill’s video The Yellow Wallpaper and new works by filmmaker Bug Davidson
It Might Get Better is an ongoing collaborative performance project consisting of repetitive live performances and an engagement with documentation. The public performances of It Might Get Better are reiterative concerts featuring a playlist of songs chosen for the cathartic power they enable through both their original reception and our own reproduction of them. The repeating of the songs on loop for the duration of the piece, actuates a model of cyclical survival that repudiates resolution. The re-performing of these songs is a disidentifactory mode of engagement and identification through/opposed to/on to/within a loose constellation of cultural and art historical references. The live performances become sites of critical reflections, potentialities, and questions about identification and abjection with a haunted pop sweetness. Lived experiences, collisions of materials, and research produces voluptuous, plausibly problematic, and complicated images relating to loss, mourning, and survival. The refusal to conclude, summarize, or make sense of loss/trauma is perpetuated through the obsessional modalities of performing and documenting It Might Get Better.
It Might Get Better morphs every time it is performed. Performance detritus accumulates in a sculptural pile, and the history of each performance lays splattered across the costumes and wigs that make up the bulk of the heap. Broken fragments of the phrase “It Might Get Better” from performances past stick to the clothes, reminding the viewer, that this has happened before. The performance of repetition is integral to the work, survival, and cumming to terms with loss and trauma; both require what Donna Minkowitz describes as “repetition with a difference”. The subversive possibilities and potentialities of this repetition, explored through the re-performance of It Might Get Better seeks to exemplify Eve Sedgwick’s notion of a queer “shame creativity” which seeks to reclaim what has been repudiated or disgraced. Our performances of the songs seek not to mimic or impersonate the artists who made them but to explicate what José Esteban Muñoz describes in Cruising Utopia as “…not so much a failure to succeed as it is a failure to participate in a system of valuation that is predicated on exploitation and conformity.” This queer failure “is a failure that is more nearly a refusal or an escape.” Screaming their lyrics while performing a loose choreography of poses and gestures taken from music videos, drag performances, and our own past performances, we seek to a trigger a queer modality of survival that doesn’t erase or negate the past but reengages with it, searching for kernels of utopian potential.