A tear, engineered in 1856 by Rodolphe-the adulterous lover of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary-is dripped onto a breakup letter and sent to the heroine via messenger. “There ought to have been some tears on this; but I can’t cry; it isn’t my fault,” he says, but not to her. Then, having filled a drinking glass with water, Rodolphe dips his finger and lets a big drop fall onto the paper, leaving a pale stain on the ink. Cally Spooner’s monograph documents a large eco-system of 40+ works which takes the incident of this false tear as a lynch pin, to reflect on the outsourcing, hijacking, erosion, decay, or destruction of personal, subjective utterance, in a 21st-century hyper connected and financialized climate.
For the monograph, Spooner describes each work in an active, present-tense voice, intercut with diagrams, drawings, culled, and censored correspondence. New essays bring into focus central themes that play out in Spooner’s transdisciplinary performance work.