Taste and Sweat: Rachelle Beaudoin

The work included in the Sweat Series addresses the process of perspiration, physical effort, and anxiety.  Over the next few months the work  we will feature uses the body’s natural process of secretion to  challenge perceptions of the body and the infinite ways in which we can be present in our skin.


The Present Tense became familiar with the work of Rachelle Beaudoin in 2008 when we screened footage from her project “Cheer Shorts” as part of the Contaminate 3 Festival.  The following piece “Way to Go!” fits both into The Present Tense’s Series on “Taste” and “Sweat.”  We have chosen to feature this piece between the two series.  Enjoy!



“I often use humor and sarcasm as an entry point into issues of gender, power and
class. I have been investigating the conflation of “hotness” and empowerment, most
recently through pieces that focus on physical fitness and working out. These works are
introspective performances as I explore the pressures and contradictions I face while
inhabiting the space of popular culture. Way to Go! is a performance for video in which I
do as many pushups as I can while eating a bite of cake with each pushup. The cycle
of indulging, feeling guilty and working out is compressed into one action.”- Rachelle Beaudoin



Rachelle Beaudoin is an artist who uses video, wearables, and performance to explore
feminine iconography and identity within popular culture. She attended the College of
the Holy Cross and holds a Master’s degree in Digital+Media from Rhode Island School
of Design. She has exhibited at Intimacy: Across Digital and Visceral Performance
Goldsmiths London UK, the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi Finland, Low Lives 3
and Itinerant Festival of International Performance Art, Queens NY. Rachelle was an
artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch, Snowmass CO this past spring.

Technology Doomed for Obsolescence- Ian Colon @ The Contaminate 2 Festival

We live in a society where technology is evolving to have fewer and fewer wires.  As our technologies become more mobile, they become more integrated into the rhythms of our daily lives.  Deep in The Present Tense Archives, we found a piece that used cords from an obsolete and nostalgic technology  to confront issues around voyeurism, surveillance, and ideas around the post human body.






Ian Colon "Chasing the Dragon" 2007


For The Present Tense and TEST’s Contaminate 2 Festival, Ian Colon tied a video camera that faced behind him into his hair.  The camera fed into a television that he held inches away from his face.  He began to sprint around the space, navigating the environment only through the lens of the immediate past.  As the piece evolved, Colon increasingly grew disoriented.  His body reached physical fatigue as it tangled in the cords that hung from the television and camera.  This revealed the impossibility of sustaining the action, questioning the complicated relationships that humans of the 21st century have built and continue to build with technology.


Ian Colon "Chasing the Dragon" 2007

Stillness Series- Sue Murad

For multi-media artist, Sue Murad, stillness is a way to experience rest, both in life and in art.   Murad describes her work as an intuitive engagement with form, disregarding notions of usefulness, common meaning, and prescribed narratives.  Much of Murad’s work operates in the territories of slippage between experimental dance, performance art, and visual art.  Having the opportunity to experience her work live, Murad accesses a mindfulness with every micro-movement of her body.  After reviewing her work for the Stillness Series, it was clear that Murad has successfully applied the same intention that she employs corporally to her utilization of objects.

"OJ Disk" 1998, Frozen orange juice, melting, installed at Massachusetts College of Art & Design 1998

Murad elaborates further on the concept of stillness:

“It ushers in quietness, regardless of the environment. Stillness has magnified moments of both peace and isolation. It has punctuated a work’s rhythm, and noted the finality of death. It has emphasized an inner human world and, in my installation work, has been interrupted by time and gravity.”

"The Tape Room" 2007, time based installation, as adhesive releases, tape unrolls at varying intervals and speeds over the duration of 9 days, installed at Arthouse, Boston

Through this series, The Present Tense has observed that stillness is a concept that evokes viscerally physical responses.  Is this possible to achieve a similar reaction when applying this concept to an inaminate object?  After looking at documentation from Murad’s installations  “The Tape Room” and “OJ Disk,” I believe it is.  Murad approaches these objects with a sensitivity that seems reserved for the human body.  The tape is subject to the effects of gravity while the Disk of orange juice sweats from the heat.   Through her experimentation, Murad turns the common objects, tape and orange juice into living beings.



Sue Murad is a multi-media artist working in visual and performing art. She teaches at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and runs Orange, an art, design & video studio. After 4 years with the performance art band, U.V. Protection (2004-2007,) Sue was a recipient of a 2008 Massachusetts Cultural Council award in Choreography. Starting in 2012, Murad will be an Artist in Residence at Children’s Hospital Boston. She lives and works in Boston.