Clean Hands was performed in East Oakland, CA in July of 2016. The alley that was cleaned was behind my home at the time. This ‘street-cleaning’ sought to care for the neighborhood in a way that was both vulnerable and earnest. For years I had been documenting the forms found within the illegal dump piles on the street, I felt as though I may have been exploiting it’s existence for my own messaging - this performance was a mediating of that exploitation, remedying all the litter I had previously only photographed and left in the gutter back to where it should have gone.
The alley was shared between a street full of houses and a street full of auto repair shops. After dark, the alley would become a transient space. Sex workers would perform services, windows were smashed, multiple vehicles and garbage piles were abandoned on a reoccurring basis. Mattresses and chemical spills were common.
This was initially intended to be an ongoing series, but moments after the camera stopped rolling, I was attacked by a dog in the alley and needed to extensively rehab my right hand. The doctor who stitched my fingers up strongly advised against any future performances like this without proper safety equipment. Revisiting this piece after that healing process still feels daunting, but I’m still developing works around this performance and experience.