Millie Brown, perhaps best known for vomiting pigment on Lady Gaga, is a performance artist familiar with feats of endurance. During the 2014 Frieze art fair this month, Vmagazine.com will lifestream “Wilting Point,” her most extreme act yet.
Natasha Stagg: Can you tell us about some of your past projects and how they have involved endurance?
Millie Brown: I always strive to push through my own physical and mental barriers. I think it’s important to experience everything you can, on every end of the spectrum. I believe it’s important to make yourself uncomfortable and learn to separate mind and body in order to reach a raw, primal state of being. I’ve used my body to paint from the inside out by vomiting rainbows; this performance involves a two-day fast prior, in order to cleanse the stomach of any food so that all that comes out is pure color. I’ve turned myself in to a human pendulum and used an old Japanese form of torture to paint with my body, I’ve set myself on fire for a film I directed, and I once performed within a sealed latex balloon filled with smoke. The challenging nature of these performances enabled to me reach a place in my mind that was so powerful, liberating and human.
NS: Will this possibly be the toughest one yet?
MB: Absolutely. Taking away all distractions from daily life and just truly being present for a full seven days is going to be tough. The added element of the fast is going to be extra challenging without anything to distract me from the strong human instincts for survival. I will need to push past these physical and mental urges, and enter into a meditative state in order to fully immerse myself in this performance. We’ve become so ADD these days, myself especially, so I’m actually really looking forward to just exploring my mind.
NS: When you finish a project like this, how do you feel, physically and emotionally?
MB: I usually feel beaten up, exhausted and yet euphoric, along with a deep sense of being truly human. I cannot imagine how I will feel after this performance. I’m fascinated to find out.
NS: How did you meet and start collaborating with Lady Gaga?
MB: We met through a mutual friend and collaborator Nick Knight back in 2009. She called me up and asked me to vomit rainbows on her for her Monsterball tour interlude. I’d never brought someone in so directly to my performance and I felt intrigued by the idea of it, so decided to collaborate on the film. We stayed in touch after that and became friends so when we both found ourselves at SXSW this year we wanted to recreate our previous performance live on stage.
NS: Who are some other artists you have collaborated with?
MB: I’ve only collaborated with LG as far as musicians, but I’ve collaborated with many artists, directors, and creatives including Nick Knight, Ruth Hogben, Adham Faramawy, Gareth Pugh, Tom Beard, David Solomini, and Dominic Jones.
NS: How do you expect people will react to “Wilting Point,” based on reactions you’ve witnessed in the past?
MB: I’m sure there will be an array of different reactions. My work seems to provoke strong responses and I always believe that whether those responses are positive or negative they’re equally as important as each other. Art is meant to make us think, move us.
NS: What are you most nervous about while preparing for “Wilting Point”?
MB: I’m not allowing myself to be nervous. I’m sure there will be some form of panic as I enter the performance space, knowing there’s no out for seven days, but I won’t let that take over. What will be achieved from the performance is far too important to me.
Wilting Point will be live streamed exclusively on VMAGAZINE.COM starting May 9th.