There was an unearthly quality to the atmosphere inside the Frieze New York art fair, like the air in a plane—still but pressurized, with an unsettling hum—when the fiction writer Ottessa Moshfegh visited to speak about her work one afternoon in May. “I hate this fair already,” she said when she walked in, handing her ticket to a very tall, very pale man dressed entirely in black lace. Almost immediately, she was lost in the labyrinth of works for sale: Takashi Murakami’s lurid blond plastic milkmaids with long legs and erect nipples; the words “any messages?” spelled out in neon tubing. It was like an enactment of the world inhabited by the protagonist of Moshfegh’s forthcoming novel, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” who works at a gallery in Chelsea, amid objects like a quarter-million-dollar “pair of toy monkeys made using human pubic hair,” with camera penises poking out from their fur. “Did I do this?” Moshfegh said, only half kidding. She sometimes gets the sense that she has the power to conjure reality through her writing.

Does the person imply that words coming out of neon tubing are like enactment or the whole fair is like an enactment ? Does enactment here can be replaced by the word “performance” ? Possibly if you can paraphrase that part I can get the idea. Thank you.


When there is already a frequently used noun available, as there is here with performance, it will usually sound unnatural to create an ad hoc nominal from the verb using the -ing ending, as you do in the title to your question, with a performing.

You could substitute the word performance there for enactment, but "a performing" would be unidiomatic. However, performance would lose some of the meaning of enactment.

When a legislative body enacts legislation, it passes the law, making it the law of the land: the law goes from a proposal to an actuality. When something like this imaginary world is enacted, it is made actual: it goes from fantasy to reality.

She sometimes gets the sense that she has the power to conjure reality through her writing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.