For Sidore (Mark II) / Heather > LOLITA, Hawk Swanson dismantled two donated dolls and combined their bodies into a replica of Lolita, the oldest orca in captivity, named after the protagonist of Nabokov’s novel. The project was commissioned and made possible by each doll’s longtime partner: synthetics advocate and doll husband Davecat, and doll owner “Jesse.” During the performance, Davecat, Jesse, and members of the doll and marine mammal activist communities all participated remotely. These collaborations comprised Hawk Swanson’s first successful attempt at creating a platform of discursive engagement for members of the doll community who had not previously pursued public self-representation.

During Sidore (Mark II) / Heather > LOLITA Davecat read from Nabokov’s Lolita, and Jesse described the secret room he built to house Heather for 15 years. Other members of the doll and marine mammal activist community also participated remotely in the Livestreamed performance. Each of these narrations was integral to the artist’s attentive reconstruction. LOLITA cast a glaring light on the problematic fluidity between the perception of a seductive body and the body in undeniable captivity—marking a body as “seductive” to erase its “captive” status. In addition to reacting against the brutality of Lolita’s long-term confinement and exploitation, the project posed broader feminist questions about surrogacy, domination, and enclosure via the suture of doll, female, and whale bodies. The performance drew an online audience of 47,000.