Online Exhibition

Xavier Cha: Disembodied Selfie

“Disintegrating into a continuous and fluid being. Everything the same. Molten, hard, rubbery, and thick. My body, the institutional surroundings, that wall, light and image, sound, my body, the air, waves, every living thing, the universe, all thought, memory, all understanding, everything. All exactly the same. I am no form, no structure, intersecting every direction at once, grotesquely flipping inside out over and over again. I stood on this floor in this room in this building but my self oozes continuously beyond this body, no beginning or end, no difference.”
—Excerpt from Xavier Cha, “Disembodied Selfie,” 2013

Discretion advised: this project contains nudity

Cover Image:

Xavier Cha, Disembodied Selfie, 2013 (screencaps). Courtesy the artist

View online exhibition

“Disembodied Selfie” by Xavier Cha is a performance piece that explores the psychological and sexual dimensions of the “selfie,” and the broader culture of sharing confessional, confrontational, and highly vulnerable photographs of oneself online. The piece originates with a live performance, choreographed by Cha, that will be presented at the Lyon Biennial on October 19 and 20, 2013. In the performance, a nude male actor, Mehdi Berkouki (who goes by the stage name Monico Chiquito), will move through the galleries of the biennial in a psychoactively dissociated state and obsessively post photographs of himself to various social media, including Vine and Instagram. The performance dramatizes the desire for validation inherent in the act of sharing “selfies” with social circles, both intimate and anonymous. The documentation, all taken by Berkouki and shared online, live, will capture his body in various poses within the galleries.

First Look will present an original dedicated website accompanying the project. The website will serve as a main documentation channel for the piece where photographs and videos will be aggregated and archived. The audience is invited to watch the performance unfold live, via this website, during the following times:

Saturday October 19, 5–7 AM in New York; 11–1 PM in Lyon, France
Sunday October 20, 7–9 AM in New York; 1–3 PM in Lyon, France

Xavier Cha’s performance-based work revolves around modes of accessibility, cultural exchange, and hierarchies of space and perception. Often by means of isolation and recontextualization, her performances, installations, and videos tease out phantasmic supports behind elements in contemporary culture and the individual’s position within this web of complex subjectivity. A frequent collaborator, Cha has invited actors, dancers, musicians, cults, and clowns, among many others, to not only participate in her projects, but also to become protagonists in the work. Cha’s work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, The Kitchen, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Moscow Biennial, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (UK), the Sculpture Center, Asia Society Museum, and the Hammer Museum, among other galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe. She will present an ambitious new performance at the New Museum in December 2013.

“Disembodied Selfies” was commissioned by the 12th Lyon Biennial, “Meanwhile… Suddenly and Then.” The original accompanying website has been supported by the New Museum through the First Look program. DIS Magazine will present the accompanying Lyon Biennial catalogue text on the project. The artist would like to thank Carlos Saez, Claudia Maté, and Jackie Neudorf for their support.


First Look is made possible, in part, by

Additional support provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

Get Updates

We want to hear from you!

Help us improve our website by taking a 5-minute survey with a chance to win $100!

Take Survey
Back to mobile site