In a live 20-minute performance, the artist sits blindfolded in front of an audience recalling experiences of occupying different types of backrooms. Rosenfeld explicitly details her first cruising encounters in the backrooms of gay bars as a visibly female bodied person, a voyeur, and the precarity of trying to pass in these spaces. The artist renders the cruising experience as one of reading social codes, a process of going undercover, while trying to ensure her physical safety. Protection becomes part of the turn-on. Rosenfeld abruptly cuts the narrative, switching from her early sexual explorations to memories of being sent to fat camp at age eleven. Here she describes the backroom as a ‘junk food cornucopia,’ one that is only accessible for a select few—those that have lost too much weight. As the performance unfolds, these juxtaposing memories reveal a mirroring into what it means to be faced with impossible desire and attempt to pass in different kinds of ‘backrooms.’ In both scenarios, Rosenfeld details the various tactics she uses in order to not ‘out’ herself in spaces that are not for her. On both occasions she is discovered, caught, revealed. Slurping and sucking sounds permeate the room and encapsulate the sharp transitions between these different types of backrooms. Backroom first premiered at Basso, Berlin (2011), Hebbel am Ufer Theater, Berlin (2011), and at The Famous Fem(inists) Get into Trouble Performance Series (2012), Stockholm.
Text written by Jana Morrison