Readings and performances in response to Zoe Leonard’s “I want a president,” featuring: Eileen Myles, Justin Vivian Bond, Sharon Hayes, Pamela Sneed, Wu Tsang, Fred Moten, Morgan Bassichis, Mel Elberg, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade, and Layli Long Solider
Sunday, November 6th, 2016
Chelsea Market Passage, on the High Line at West 16th Street, NY, NY
To make the private into something public is an action that has terrific repercussions on the reinvented world.
The night before I went to see readings and performances at the High Line in response to Zoe Leonard’s work I want a president, I found myself in front of a poster that said “Defeat Reagan in 1984.” I couldn’t believe how much it felt like I was staring into the present when I looked at it. It was probably the most simultaneously punk rock and haunting image I’ve seen this year.
I got to the High Line the next afternoon with a few minutes to spare. Then I remembered how long the High Line is (1.45 miles) and how I hadn’t looked up where this event actually was. As I walked along, annoyed at tourists who simply walked the pace I would walk if I was on vacation—I thought about the first time I ever went to the High Line. I was on what I thought was a date or didn’t think was a date until we were there. That’s the feeling the High Line gives me. By the time my maybe-date and I finished dinner and got up there it was sunset. It was beautiful. I thought we should kiss. And when we didn’t, I still thought it was beautiful, just disappointing. We never went out again. But that’s what I think of when I think of the High Line—somewhere that bourgie people go to kiss because of the view. I say this all to explain why it feels so completely radical to have Zoe Leonard’s I want a president installed there.