Multimedia artist Janet Biggs offers a performance based on heroic individual stories of struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. Presented in collaboration with the University of Houston Blaffer Art Museum and independent curator, Janet Phelps, If Ever I Would Leave You merges the intimacy of a fleeting memory with the rigor of an optical seizure. Taking its title from one of the artist’s grandfather’s favorite songs, If Ever I Would Leave You looks at loss, desire, chaos and control in the face of a fading sense of self.
Biggs combines projected video images from her own memories with images culled from the local community to create a new narrative. Live actors, musicians and vocalists perform a dance of repeated rituals, reflecting the futile struggle to maintain control amongst the fraying fabric of a mind.. Using cutting edge scientific research on memory implanting, altering and erasure, Biggs creates negative memory evoking her earliest experiences of autonomous identity, power and freedom. The performance ends with a lone vocalist singing the title song. As each verse is sung, more and more words are absent until there is only silence.