about caring shifts/shifting cares

caring shifts/shifting cares considers the complex nature of caregiving and the primacy, power, and poignancy of caring touch. Through the performance, Joan Giroux and Lisa Kaftori explore how touch, affection, and nurturance—or their absence—can produce profound influences on one’s life.

The artists look closely at how the role of caregiver shifts over the course of a lifetime and as it is passed from one generation to the next. Giroux and Kaftori seek to create a gathering space made intimate with modest gestures, spoken word, and observed symbols of caregiving, inviting the possibility of new ways of thinking about the desire and need to give and receive care.

On the evening of October 5, 2017, Joan Giroux and Lisa Kaftori performed caring shifts/shifting cares in the context of the Take Care exhibition.

 Shifting from one to the other, they read as a duet, with echoes and doubling. Adding moments of touch and the measurement of space and time, they constructed the empty bed that now stands in the gallery.

Below is the poetic text as the artists read it that evening:

  1. August 22, 1923
  2. Dr. H.J.
  3. 801 South Boulevard
  4. Oak Park, Ill
  5. Dear Dr.
  6. Mrs Higginson this morning
  7. this morning brought in
  8. the little Wartinbee baby
  9. baby whom you referred
  10. a melanotic mole
  11. 3 millimeters in diameter
  12. long in the skin
  13. below the angle
  14. angle of the jaw
  15. two little points
  16. that have appeared
  17. appeared at a short
  18. at a short distance
  19. these cases
  20. cases are just
  21. as serious as any thing
  22. as anything can be
  23. melanotic carcinomas
  24. melanotic or sarcomas carcinomas
  25. I really do not know
  26. what is the best
  27. the best course
  28. course to pursue
  29. Even before
  30. shown any evidence
  31. evidence of spreading
  32. spreading as this
  33. this one has in two little spots
  34. as this one has
  35. in two little spots
  36. the most radical
  37. most radical removal
  38. of the local lesion
  39. often apparently hastens
  40. hastens its growth
  41. If anything is done for this case
  42. If anything is done
  43. I would advise
  44. advise the destruction
  45. with the actual cautery
  46. actual cautery and the vigorous
  47. application of radium
  48. X-rays afterwards
  49. I feel almost certain
  50. almost certain, however
  51. that if the child
  52. is operated upon
  53. upon the condition
  54. the condition is going
  55. to show metastasis
  56. apparently be worse
  57. worse for the operation
  58. I told them to see you
  59. I told them
  60. see you
  61. come back
  62. see me
  63. in a few days
  64. With kind regards,
  65. yours truly
  66. W.A.
  67. 1301 Chicago Building
  68. 7 West Madison St.
  69. Chicago, Ill
  70. Ill