Video production and livestreaming by Renato Velarde

Over the seven consecutive days of Doll Closet, Hawk Swanson constructed a replica of the hidden room anonymous doll owner “Jesse” built in his home, where he secretly kept his 1998 model doll, Heather, for 15 years before donating her body to the artist’s performance Sidore (Mark II) / Heather > LOLITA (2013). The pieces of Heather left over from LOLITA were present to witness the reconstruction. Working around his factory shifts, Jesse called in to the performance during select hours of each day to provide guidance on manual operations and discuss both his relationship to a transfeminine spectrum and Heather’s role as a gender surrogate and psychic prosthetic. 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 similar to the one where Jesse currently lives, Hawk Swanson and Jesse connected over their shared embodied experience of classed closetedness while also making legible to one another the skills they acquired while conditioned as the genders they were assigned at birth.

Doll Closet explored the worldmaking involved in keeping secrets and asked what kinds of intimacies, relations, and unanticipated connections flourish in secrecy. Doll Closet provided the imperative means for Jesse to speak both publicly and anonymously. In doing so, the performance explored how the interior space of the closet can be rendered as both capacious and collective while engaging physical work to unlock psychic intellectual discourse.

Doll Closet took place from December 10-17, 2014 at The Watermill Center (Water Mill, NY) and was Livestreamed beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET each day. The performance was open for live viewing on select hours on December 13, 2014. The following images were taking during the live viewing.

Jesse designed his original doll closet so the door was flush with the wall. The lock on the door was hidden behind a knot of wood, which itself was hidden behind a removable baseboard that appeared to be nailed but was actually velcroed to the wall. Jesse kept his doll and the clothing he prefers to wear locked in his hidden closet. The videos and images below were originally posted on