Ann Hirsch, “Photos for Jobe #2,” 1998/2013. Photo, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist
Commissioned and presented by Rhizome
Ann Hirsch’s Playground is a two-person performance loosely based on the cyber-sexual escapades of the artist’s adolescent self.
Set in a fictionalized AOL chat room called Twelve in the late 1990s, the performance stages an online encounter between twelve-year-old “Anni” (Annemarie Wolf) and twenty-seven-year-old “jobe” (Gene Gallerano). Their relationship, which plays out through instant messages, imagined dialogues, and telephone conversations, begins as a friendship and then becomes something more. But in spite of the mediating role played by technology, their connection is very real.
Upending easy assumptions about the dangers of online relationships, Playground is a reflection on what it meant to come of age as a girl in the early years of the web, when it became the norm to learn about sex and relationships from websites and online strangers.
Hirsch is a video and performance artist who looks at the ways technology has influenced popular culture and gender. Her research has included becoming a YouTube camwhore, amassing over two million views on her videos, as well as making appearances on some popular reality television shows. She was awarded a 2012–13 Rhizome commission for Playground and is releasing a companion ebook with Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery. She is currently a Swing Space artist in residence at LMCC.