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232 Leonardo Gallery Scientific Delirium Madness 4.0 Gallery Performing “The Writer in Captivity” at SDM GinaRae LaCerva It began as a joke over dinner. Our residency cohort was discussing what everyone would do for the upcoming open house. “I should just let people watch me through the sliding glass doors of my Middlebrook studio,” I said, “In my mercurial writing habits, I would be as interesting as a zoo animal.” Ainissa Ramirez and Anna Davidson soon signed on as cocollaborators to play the zookeeper and the psychologist , and we began turning “The Writer in Captivity” into a short play. As the open house approached, I became uneasy about our performance. It felt too close to the reality of my daily struggles. My background is in earth science and environmental anthropology, but I was at Djerassi working on my first book. The identity of “artist” was still new and disorienting. What did it mean to play a writer on stage when I was already pretending to be one in real life? In conversations with my fellow residents, I realized that many of these remarkable people also felt unmoored in their identities. They saw themselves as either scientist or artist, variously playing those “roles” but rarely getting to truly be themselves: someone who was both, someone who did all the things. We each wanted to figure out how to fully embody the scientist-artist identity, and as society has not yet provided a road map, it was up to us to discover what that meant. The performance was met with loud laughs and applause. We had hit upon something that anyone who attempts a creative challenge—whether it be a research project or an artwork—has experienced: a sense of being captive to the work itself. This liminal space is where the most interesting identities exist, and the SDM Residency gave me the confidence to rest in such uncertainty. GinaRae LaCerva Email: GinaRae LaCerva, “The Writer in Captivity,” 2017. The Zookeeper feeds the Writer. (Photo © Laura Amador) GinaRae LaCerva, “The Writer in Captivity,” 2017. The Psychologist explains the Writer’s bizarre work habits. (Photo © Laura Amador) GinaRae LaCerva, “The Writer in Captivity,” 2017. Success! The Writer finally sits down at her desk. (Photo © Laura Amador) cropped ...


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