Brooklyn, NY
The domestic setting of a friends basement was the backdrop to this intimate Valentines Day performance. I engaged in physical actions that waver upon simulated and real violence in an attempt to confront the escalation of belligerence and aggression as it manifests in social interaction. Blurring the lines between staged and lived acts, this image shows me biting down upon a candy glass bottle, made to trick the viewer into believing it was real.

Sugared, which debuted on Valentine's Day in 2016, is Vangrin's most direct engagement with pain and violence to date. Pulling together multiple elements from earlier works, it takes place in a small, darkened basement room. Again, Vangrin is embedded between lenses, screens and projections. The spray bottle full of water is present to gradually soak her. Giant ice blocks have shrunk to cubes, which she rubs aggressively around her face and loudly crunches between her teeth. She slaps herself — pretty hard — on her iced-up face and thighs; she paces, pants, and laughs a maniacal 'ha ha ha' laugh. She chugs a beer, stalks back to the table, grabs another bottle, and smashes it on her head, eliciting startled gasps from the audience. At the end of the piece, she licks and fondles a third bottle before biting it to pieces. It's only on reflection, and with the hint from the work's title, that it becomes obvious the bottles are made of sugar. Vangrin performs an interesting sort of inversion. As life, through social media, becomes increasingly curated, controlled, and self-consciously presented, it's as if, even in the act of performing, she temporarily almost removes gaps between feelings and actions, as if the short-term states of consciousness she generates via her physical interactions with various substances could be fully inscribed and legible in the motion of her limbs. As sociologist Jeff Coulter details, a basically Cartesian mind-body dualism is still linguistically — and, therefore, deeply — entrenched in our self-perceptions; there is a significant difference between saying 'my face hurts' and saying 'I am in pain'. [10] The way Vangrin's art employs various materials to a degree collapses apparent divisions between mind and body. She appears immersed simultaneously in her physical sensations and her emotions, as these continuously and fluidly impact one another. The affect does not feel reductively materialist any more than she appears to have dematerialized. Rather, the very act of performing, here, emphasizes how minds, bodies, and the meanings generated by them are socially embedded phenomena.-

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