Hello Leonora, soy anne Walsh
Hello Leonora, Soy Anne Walsh Anne Walsh Spring 2019, No Place Press, New York and San Francisco / MIT Press Distributing
Additional Texts by Dodie Bellamy, Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Claudia LaRocco Edited by Rachel Churner Designed by General Working Group 7 x 9-1/2 in. (177 x 241mm) 234 pages Softcover/full color plus, laser-cut, 3 paper stocks
Hello Leonora, Soy Anne Walsh are the first words of a script for a conversation with Carrington that I wrote before telephoning her for the first time. The title evokes the real and fantasized qualities of my interactions with Carrington, the care with which I approached her, but also the performative identity I assumed for this project. Hello Leonora, Soy Anne Walsh offers a narrative in fragments: a middle-aged artist named Anne Walsh falls in love with the 92-year-old author of a book about a 92-year-old woman who is placed in a sinister and surreal retirement home. Anne Walsh courts the author, travels to Mexico to meet her, fantasizes about adapting the book for film, and spends the next decade searching for The Hearing Trumpet’s form and cast. Having discovered in Carrington’s novel a thrilling, subversive example of old age, she casts herself as an “Apprentice Crone.”
Hello Leonora is also auto-ethnography, highlighting the painful but also campy obsessions of middle age vanity and the strangeness of menopause, written by a character who moves between being the book’s author, the producer of The Hearing Trumpet’s adaptation, and a cast member of that adaptation. She becomes a mother, passes through menopause, collaborates with actors in elder theater classes, and documents her own life as a “mood board” for a film which is never made.
In its form, developed in deep collaboration with designer Geoff Kaplan, Hello Leonora, Soy Anne Walsh evokes an obsessive and recursive search through its dense use of facsimiles of hand-written letters, annotated research notes, and post-it note flow charts, all embedded amidst essays, scripts and photographs. These photographs document my several visits to and with Carrington in Mexico City; studio research ephemera (studies for staging, location, and casting of the imaginary film); the places where these fantasies are taking place and being fed: my studios, my home, and all the places where I troll for old ladies; and finally, in selfies which perform the vanity, anxiety, and comedy of the Apprentice Crone.