Having grown up spending one half of each week in a blue collar neighborhood with people who worked outdoors and the other in a middle class neighborhood with people who worked indoors in a small Midwestern town near the Missippippi River, Hawk Swanson regularly observed gravedigging in the graveyard across the street from where she lived. While most of each grave was dug using a machine, a remainder was dug by hand. During 2010, the artist assigned herself the timed weekly task of digging chest-deep holes inspired by her involvement in the fitness methodology and online community, CrossFit, prior to her later involvment in boycotting CrossFit HQ. The series was also inspired by the extensive list of functional fitness tasks her grandfather—a janitor and groundskeeper—assigned her father after he turned eight years old.

Art Historian David Getsy has written on Dig.

“Queer Exercises: Amber Hawk Swanson’s Performances of Self-Realization.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies 19.4 (Oct. 2013): 465-485.︎