In Finocchio: The Holiday Classic, I reimagined the idea of the commercial holiday window popular in urban centers – taking the format of the sequential visual narrative and injecting it with contemporary themes of postmodern gender theory, technologies that can alter the body, mental illness, and addiction. The storyline was a twist on Pinocchio. However, instead of being centered on a puppet who wants to assimilate as a normal boring human boy, Finocchio focused on a marionette “trapped” in the body of a non-binary human and hir journey to self-actualization through fabulousness. I created the installation in the front window display of the Dirt Palace, a feminist art space located in a repurposed abandoned library building in Olneyville, RI.
Later, Women And Performance: A Journal Of Feminist Theory published a photo spread from Finocchio for it’s 20th Anniversary edition.
Once upon a time, we were the same. One day in the age of plastics and silicone breast implants, a fabulous boy-gyrrrl, named Finocchio was born.
Nurse: It’s a baby!
When Finocchio was older, ze became an intern at Geppetto’s studio. Finnochio had a crush on Pinnochio and secretly felt like a marionette trapped inside a boy-gyrrrl’s body.
Geppetto found out about Finocchio’s secret and was horrified. He told everyone in the village, got a restraining order, and sent Finnocchio to a puppet shrink. Finnochio got diagnosed with a serious case of “puppet envy” or “Puppet Body Image Identity Disorder” (P.B.I.I.D.). The only FDA approved treatments at the time were xanax and a risky operation to get google eyes.. but there were strings attached.
Finnocchio: I wear strings under my clothes
Dr. B. Quackleson: I see…
Later while waiting in line at the pharmacy for the prescription, Finnocchio met Jimmy, the talking cockroach with a mood disorder… It is Jimmy’s big day. He is filling all of his prescriptions. Each and every one: Adderall (for attention), Celexa (for PTSD), Wellbutrin (to quit smoking) Depakote (to keep him even), Geodon (because he’s paranoid), Meridia and Topamax (to loose weight), along with Ambien, Trazodone and Seroquil (for sleep), an array of benzodiazapines, Demerol (for fibromialgia), Ritalin (to keep him alert), Oxycontin (for his sprained thorax), as well as Viagra. Jimmy was strung out and drunk and high as usual. He was wearing two patches, but smoke cigarettes anyway (Newport Lights, to be exact).
Jimmy: What do you mean my insurance won’t cover it?
Jimmy turned bluish, passed out, and had a seizure. Finocchio was at hir wits end was about to overdose on Xanax hirself… When all of a sudden, a Radical Faerie, named Penelopee appeared. She injected Jimmy with Naloxone, paid for his meds, and helped him get into rehab even though he didn’t have insurance. Then she told Finnochio that it’s alright to be fabulous and granted hir one wish…
..The wish to become a puppet. Finocchio lived a long, happy, productive and eternal life, all the time passing as a puppet. Jimmy got clean and went to twelve-step meetings for a while and did yoga.
All text ©2003 Marsian De Lellis
Materials: cardboard, natural and synthetic fabric, faux fur, poly-fill, yarn, dye pigments, acrylic paint, tissue paper, masking tape, wire, framed photographs, human hair, glass and acrylic eyes, acrylic finger nails, found jewelry, found objects, found taxidermy, repurposed stuffed animal hides, feathers, rabbit’s feet, yarn, card stock
Dimensions: width: 22.5′ x height 7′ , depth 48″