2015 4-channel video installation Videos 1-3, HD color, 6-channel sound, 53:13 minute synchronized loop; and 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 4-channel spatialized audio-visual panorama. This episode is the introduction and orbital center around which the other three episodes 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 desert and theater operate dually as real and psychological spaces that represent the vast infinitude and unfixed qualities of the void.
Performers navigate the desert observing the land, gathering garbage, equipment for provisional living (camping gear) and seeking im/material resources like water, smoke (air), and light. In the theater, performers build their world from a central pile of waste while reciting a script culled from multiple texts. With each recitation a performer engages with props (the material world) in subtle and humorous ways that alter or augment the meaning of what is being said. Through this process the authority of language, and other boundary making devices are unhinged—exposing multiple meanings and ambiguity. Over the course of the 53 minutes a poly-vocal recitation of the script unfolds like a manifesto, rooted in ontological fluidity and difference. The work voices an alternative to the current state of queer, migrant and race-based politics that advocate for equality through assimilation. Assimilation asks marginalized persons to adapt to hegemonic systems, ‘A Smeary Spot’ wishes to cultivate difference as a vital aspect of a healthy ecosystem.
A Smeary Spot is projected on three horizontally aligned freestanding walls that cut at an angle the architecture of the exhibition space. The gallery is painted black to mimic the esthetics of the black box theater. 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.
Stack of take-away posters within the installation.
The script from A Smeary Spot, available as a take-away poster. Offset printed poster, open edition, 18×24 inches
Still from A Smeary Spot, ‘OOO 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.
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 scape.
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, ‘re/productive labor’ with 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 ‘Free Radical’ 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 Manning’s military jacket.
Still from A Smeary Spot, 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 Aunt Be/e overflows.
Still from A Smeary Spot, the overflow appears like strata in desert scape.