sally’s helper

This performance project Sally's Helper explores footnotes from the long history of typing as feminized labor.Playing the character of Sally - an office secretary who was used as the ‘model user’ for the first graphical user interface developed at Xerox PARC in the late 1970s - I am seated at a workstation, operating a keyboard. Each keystroke on this keyboard triggers a solenoid circuit built over a toy piano, generating the piano notes in a textually generated composition. Sally thus becomes a musical composer/performer and stenographer of her story. The text being performed moves between subjective accounts of occupational pain, anecdotes from the historical context of Sally, and reflections on collective exhaustion at the terminal. Reflecting on the pervasion of the computer as a workspace into domestic spaces, especially through the pandemic, the project aims to look back to this gendered history of interface design through the lens of computer pain.

Presented above is a 10 minute video excerpt from the 40 minute performance.