• Sunny J

'Tis the Lady of Shalott


'Tis the Lady of Shalott

Performance at ASIS Gallery , University of Rochester, Feburary 19, 2015


Inspired by the cursed Lady of Shalott in the Victorian balland by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, this performance explores control and manipulation. The artist Sunny J attaches 59 red strings of various lenghs to her hair, ears, fingers, toes, and dress; the visitors are invited to hold the other end of each string during their entire visit to the gallery. They can request an extension by tying a longer string to their end, the length of which depends on how close they want to stay with the artist. The visitors are free to exert violence or gentleness to the strings and thus manipulate the movements and whereabouts of the artist as they wish. By walking around the gallery, restraining and controlling each other's movements, the audience and the artist create a fluid human map with the red strings.


And by the moon the reaper weary,

Piling sheaves in uplands airy,

Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy

Lady of Shalott."



She knows not what the curse may be,

And so she weaveth steadily,

And little other care hath she,

The Lady of Shalott.

Out flew the web and floated wide-

The mirror crack'd from side to side;

"The curse is come upon me," cried

The Lady of Shalott.


"Who is this? And what is here?"

And in the lighted palace near

Died the sound of royal cheer;

And they crossed themselves for fear,

All the Knights at Camelot;

But Lancelot mused a little space

He said, "She has a lovely face;

God in his mercy lend her grace,

The Lady of Shalott."



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