Video of Midori inviting queer sex workers for their totemic objects to include in the piece

InVocation Wall Text Artist Statement Root Division 2020

2019 – 2020


InVocation is about collective memory and the ritual of letting go. The curtain is a literal web of hemp rope commonly used in theater, as well as in sex work involving Shibari. 

A porousness dividing spaces in workers, performers and consumers boundaries. Emblematic of the actual backstage, changing rooms, and club or hotel bathrooms where sex workers prepare and transform into their performative work personae, the viewer is invited to walk into and experience that private space. 

In Kyoto, there is a ceremony of blessing and retiring broken hair combs. Many cities and towns in Japan have similar memorial rituals at temples and shrines for broken sewing needles which served the workers and the makers. The hair combs and sewing needles, essential tools of the courtesans of the Floating World, as well as various other sex workers, costume makers, and the like. The comb and the needles are imbued with spirit and animus magic and given proper memorial and blessings before being retired. In Midori’s InVocation, the rope monument is woven through out with totemic objects donated by queer sex workers (both former and current) – dearly held objects which served and accompanied the owners as they performed their labor and industry. 

(Originally commissioned for “On Our Backs” exhibtion, by Leslie Lohman Museum of Art. 2019 )

If you are a current / former sex workder with emotionally significant totemic objects from your labor that you would like to give a new life as part of future iterations of InVocation, please contact Midori at