2015 4-channel video installation. Videos 1-3: HD color, 6-channel sound, 53:13 minute synchronized loop. Video 4: SD b/w, silent, 4:00 minute loop.
Installation view of A Smeary Spot, 2015 at Participant Inc., NY.
A Smeary Spot (2015) is a video installation constructed as a multi-channel spatialized audio-visual panorama. This work is the introduction and orbital center around which the other three videos in ‘Negative Space’ circulate and conceptually echo. The video is staged in two sites: the deserts of southern Utah and a black box theater. The dramatic desert landscape and black-box theater operate dually as real and psychological spaces. Both give the impression of the vastness, infinitude and unfixed qualities of the ‘void.’
Performers navigate the desert observing (as opposed to surveying) the land, gathering waste, equipment for provisional living (camping gear) and seeking im/material resources like water, smoke (air), and light, to survive on. Through a meandering exploration of the landscape, where resources are seemingly lacking, improvised abundance is exposed. As are sites of exploitation such as the dam and an off-gassing power plant. In the theater, performers build their world from a central pile of garbage while reciting a script culled from multiple textual sources. With each recitation performers engage with props in subtle and humorous ways that re-contextualize what is being said—exposing multiple meanings or subtexts. Over the course of the 53-minutes a poly-vocal recitation of the script unfolds like a manifesto on ontological shapeshifting. The script voices an alternative to the current state of queer, migrant and race-based politics that advocates for equality through assimilation. Assimilation asks marginalized persons to adapt to hegemonic systems, rather a truly vital ecosystem would cultivate difference.
A Smeary Spot is projected on three horizontally aligned freestanding walls that cut at an angle the architecture of the exhibition space. Wheeled office chairs (props also used in the video) provide mobile seating and 6-channel audio, scored by Geo Wyeth, orchestrates the audiences’ attention across the three primary video channels. The fourth channel runs separately on a box monitor and contains footnoted credits.
Installation view of A Smeary Spot at Participant Inc., NY.
Installation view at Julia Stoschek Collection of the script from A Smeary Spot as a stack of take-away posters.
Still from A Smeary Spot, Sax Solo
Still from A Smeary Spot, ‘the clairvoyant psyche’ sets the stage by delivering a poetic excerpt from Karen Barad’s What Is the Measure of Nothingness: Infinity, Virtuality, Justice.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the desert.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the ‘Ob-surveyor,’ observing the land.
Still from A Smeary Spot, a ‘Free Radical’ in the desert, builds movements to measure space with their body.
Still from A Smeary Spot, a ‘Free Radical’ in the desert.
Still from A Smeary Spot
Still from A Smeary Spot, ‘Free Radicals’ wandering the desert seeking matter.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the ‘Ob-surveyor.’
Still from A Smeary Spot, the desert landscape.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the waste pile from which all activities in the theater are built and all objects return to.
Still from A Smeary Spot, performer acting as ‘re/productive labor’ working at a standing table emerging from the waste pile.
Still from A Smeary Spot, ‘re/productive labor’ making copies.
Still from A Smeary Spot, ‘re/productive labor’ operating the juicer, transforming solids into liquids.
Still from A Smeary Spot, within the theater a ‘Free Radical’ applies lipstick while reciting the introduction to The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin about the ambiguity of walls.
A still from A Smeary Spot, in which a perfromer releases all the air from an air mattress while reciting a text on how matter comes to matter.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the ‘Shape-shifter’ lounges on air mattresses posing as Manet’s ‘Olympia’ and ponders the anti-capitalistic qualities of a lesbian identity in a recitation from Guy Holquenquim’s The Screwball Asses. ‘Olympia’ is a muse and a prostitute, a woman as object and commodity who suddenly speaks about longing to be a “future woman,” one that has a different relationship to male desire.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the ‘Shape-shifter’ caresses and cares for Chelsea Manning’s military jacket.
Still from A Smeary Spot, a performer as the ‘Shape-shifter’ in her natural state of getting ready, aka. ‘perpetual becoming.’
Still from A Smeary Spot, a ‘Free Radical’ seducing and flagging the sun.
Still from A Smeary Spot.
Still from A Smeary Spot, a surreal water-scape created by the damning of a river.
Still from A Smeary Spot, a Free Radical applies a mud mask in excess while reciting an excerpt from T.S. Elliot’s Waste Land.
Still from A Smeary Spot a juicer used by ‘re/productive labor’ overflows.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the overflow appears to mimic strata in desert.