Performance artist, photographer and traveler, Michelle Morby is a graduate of the Speos Photographic Institute in Paris and the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied New Genres. Michelle was born in a Golden Age… the 1970s. Gold lamee shimmered on the dance floor, hair was feathered, tan lines were sexy.
From her fascination with the biological basis of human relationships, bloodlines, magic and the power of gesture, Michelle creates interactive multidisciplinary ritual performances.
Her current project, “Ritual to Break my Spell” frames an endurance art performance, travel to a foreign land (Iceland), innovations in fashion, and a fitness challenge within an original fairy tale: A powerful horse has been turned into an ornery long-tusked walrus. A quest must be undertaken to break the spell. This performance will result in a multimedia gallery show in the summer of 2012.
Born in Argentina to a biological mother she never met, Michelle was adopted and raised on the east coast between Cambridge MA, New York City and Pittsburgh, PA. For her Argentina project, she returned to Buenos Aires to stage a month long performance piece that explored the imagined experience of her birth mother—what she went through emotionally, an underaged woman pregnant during Argentina’s “dirty war”. Michelle wore a prosthetic belly, wig and 70’s inspired clothing and walked the streets of Buenos Aries. Eventually she entered the hospital where she was born.
In another work, based on pheromones, Michelle created an ancient human ritual: Selecting a mate at a dance party. At this party, every one wore a white organic cotton shirt . After hours of dancing, sweating, and drinking, the shirts were collected and kept in individual plastic bags. Smelling salons followed days later to rate the “fuckability” of each t-shirt. Sniffers were asked to imagine that they had just woken up and this is what their bed sheets smelled like. Were they turned on by the smell? Did they select the smell that matched the person they had been most visually and socially attracted to? Do we override our primal instincts in choosing our mates?
Michelle came to performance art and new genres through her first calling as a photographer. It was a natural progression as her photography centered on using distortions of texture, color and volume to generate tactile viewing experiences with interior depth and heightened psychological portency. Her subjects were primarily people from social and political subcultures such as French graffiti artists and the Whadzabe people of Africa.
Michelle lives and works in Oakland, Calfornia. For more information on her current project, please visit http://www.breakingmyspell.wordpress.com.