This Is My Blue Period

1977, 31:28 min, color, sound

A documentation of a 1977 performance at Artists Space (NYC), This Is My Blue Period is a surreal monologue featuring four of the artist's poems. At once incantation, song, and internal monologue, here Heyward describes a virus as it overtakes her body and infects her heart, blood, and mind. She chants about the burning bush, calls to birds, and performs a dialogue between an exhausted diner waitress and her customers. Over and over she repeats, "I just work here," exposing the disparity between necessary labor and intellectual, psychological, and emotional investments in the capitalist framework. Framing that shows Heyward in close-up changes the viewer's perception of the performance as she shifts her body in and out of view or uses it as a stage for a finger puppet show. Other images that reflect the content of her words are interspersed within her monologue—a mountain cave, a tree, or a monotone blue that recalls the performance's title. Bolstered by constant changes in tone and expression, in This Is My Blue Period Heyward performs multiple layers of narrative and semantic meaning that suggest the mutability and slippage of language.