In 2007 Amber Hawk Swanson produced a life size doll in her own image for their collaborative art project. In the feminist art project “To Have, To Hold and To Violate” they have performed all the ritual of weddings. At the wedding (performance) not everything went as planed. Amber saw her new partner being violated, as the queer wedding guests wanted to know what the virgina of the perfect lifesize Barbie doll looked like?
Amber had Amber Doll made at a point in her life where she was single and really wanted a girlfriend and the art project made her explore all sorts of emotions.
In a video interviews she says: “I now think of her as a reminder of what I am now. It is hard to have her next to me sometimes. [...] I feel like that the whole process has opened me up to this amazing relationship, which I am in.”
Since 2007 Amber Hawk Swanson has published more than 60 short documentaries about her Amber Doll art project at her video stream.
Chicago artist Amber Hawk Swanson explores a relationship with a life-size doll made in her own image. See the video and hear Amber talk about her feminist art project “To Have, To Hold and To Violate”.
Amber Hawk Swanson recently spent a month at the Fountainhead Residency in Miami shooting new photography and video work for the exhibition, “To Have, To Hold, and To Violate: Amber and Doll” opening May 10, 7-11pm at Locust Projects in conjunction with the Wynwood Art District Second Saturday gallery walk and closing June 28, 2008.
For the exhibition, Amber Hawk Swanson commissioned the production of a life-like sex doll, a RealDoll, made of a posable PVC skeleton and silicone flesh, in her exact likeness. Together with Amber Doll, Hawk Swanson disrupts the social codes of ritualized spaces by inserting her sexually available silicone replica into wedding receptions, tailgating parties, sorority houses, and theme parks. Complicating the viewer’s position of voyeur in each scene is the presence of Hawk Swanson’s romantic partnership with Amber Doll. The intimate relationship she maintains with her doll mirrors that of many male RealDoll owners’ relationships to their female dolls. Hawk Swanson toys with notions of repulsion, desire and surrender through a combination of performance, video, and photography.
Drawing upon the ceremonial aspects of gallery settings with a new site-specific installation, visitors are also invited to participate in the observance of Amber Doll’s untimely death in the tradition of funerary rituals for public figures. The artist invites floral tributes as part of an ongoing interaction with the installation. Flowers may be hand-delivered or sent beginning May 8, 2008 c/o Locust Projects, 105 NW 23rd Street, Miami, Florida 33127. Tel 305-576-8570 (Deliveries please note gallery hours, Thursday- Saturday 12-5pm).