Installation view of Living Room at ICA Philadelphia.
Living Room is the second work in the Negative Space tetralogy, exploring dueling notions of the body as both an exploited and agential resource. The video is filmed within the hermetic interior of a building. Shot in a series of found and constructed spaces, the video treats the entire building as a metaphorical organism. The work is divided among four sites within the building: the living room (psyche), the stairwell (mouth to anus), the bathroom (kidneys), and basement (uterus). The rooms create an asynchronous environment wherein performers enact various kinds of bodies–celestial, political, metaphysical, animal–working to co-subsist. Often blurring the line between animate and inanimate environs—architecture, language and objects carry the cinematic weight of a protagonist, while the performers struggle under the weight of their own waste or inexplicably succumb to societal toxicities. The video features choreography by NIC Kay.
The left channel of Living Room is projected onto a wall with partially exposed studs; the right channel is projected onto a propped piece of unused drywall. By exposing the substructure of the walls, the installation makes the site of the exhibition explicit as a constructed space. On the floor is a soiled carpet left over from scenes in the video. The work is installed among sculptural objects that animate elements of the videos narrative, including works A Skeleton Reclining and Corporeal Soil.
Still from Living Room, in which ‘Make Make’ cares for a pet fish in a fantastical living room.
Still from Living Room, ‘Pluto’ play-acts, embodying a bird of prey.
Still from Living Room, ‘Eris’ swats at the voices in the room.
Still from Living Room, Mx. Manning in the stairwell—traversing ‘mouth to anus’ or top to bottom within the building.
Still from Living Room, in which Mx. Manning descends the stairwell carrying an ever increasing load of trash.
Still from Living Room, ‘Patient Patient’ and ‘Marat’ engage in self care and banter while recuperating from socio-political illnesses in the bathroom.
Still from Living Room, ‘Patient Patient’ and ‘Marat’ discuss the slippage between language and meaning.
Still from Living Room, in this scene—a restaging of J-L Davids’ Death of Marat—Marat succumbs to economic toxicity and dies with a bloody nose.
Still from Living Room, 2017
Still from Living Room, 2017
Still from Living Room, ‘Mx. Manning’ wrestles with a trashed couch and other discarded materials as she descends the stairwell.
Still from Living Room, a ‘Pregnant Backpacker’ bears the weight of accumulated trash as she descends the stairwell.
Still from Living Room, at the bottom of the stairs ‘Pregnant Backpacker’ drags a ravaged piece of couch into the basement.
Still from Living Room, dancers wear headlamps as the only source of illumination in the basement of the building.
Still from Living Room, dancers move in and out of synchronicity.
Still from Living Room, choreographed movements rearranges the language worn on the dancers’ shirts (HER, AGAIN, OR BUST and NO).
In a still from Living Room, a spider feasts on a cockroach.