Artist statement

My work combines live performance art with media technologies (video, sound, projected text) to make for a combination that is deeply layered. I like complexity, and find that in live performance, complexity can serve to make multiple meanings. The body is a culture, and the computer is a culture, and together they make up a hybrid space for the viewer to reflect (and possibly to see themselves somewhere in the reflection). My latest works investigate the way that video and live performance overlap, in the way that photography and video overlaps, and speak to each other. I am interested in exploring these junctures. I am also very interested in the way time operates in these forms, and this seems to be the next direction in my work.

In my last cycle of works, the xo_ series, I was interested in exploring how Echo works as a mediated presence in a discipline that seems to privilege Narcissus, the act of gazing, and the male gaze itself. Unintentionally finding a philosophical home in Echo's realm, I found a place to iterate and reiterate. It was my first cycle of mediated performance works. One of the primary concerns was, and is, the line between performance and ritual. Coming out of my initiatory year as a priest in the Afro-Cuban Lucumi tradition, I am very curious to explore the notions of secrecy and openness. Politically driven toward an ideology of openness, and spiritually toward secrecy, I am interested in seeing how these speak to each other in performance, and what might escape hiddenness.

In the next phase of my work, I would like to explore time and space more explicitly, and outline a poetics of mediated sacred time. Drawing on the ideas of Maya Deren, Robert Farris Thompson, Lydia Cabrera, and David Byrne, I would like to explore a post-modern aesthetics of ritual time.


SYNOPSIS
This project is to make a trilogy of loosely connected films for performance (live performance, body art, with media), all loosely based on the Narcissus and Echo myth. In each of these, there will be various methodologies of performing subjectivity (and loss of subjectivity in the search for self and other), using different technologies and media. Each film is contained, and can be seen separately, but there are links between them that would make knowledge of each work beneficial for the pleasure of the performance text. The films are, in chronological order: xo_tact (using the myth of Echoing in terms of contemporary border issues between US-Mexico), xo_xx (searching for aspects of the muse in parallel archetypical patterns in Santeria Orisha), xo_xy (search for other through tarot, film, and culture).

3 completed videos (each about one hour long), which can stand by themselves, but much better if they are seen in conjunction with live performance (and here there are also three live performances).


I think the artworks were good and bad; there were some decisions that had to be made in each, that were very hasty. In xo_tact, I decided to throw out the idea of a film on the border and instead shot footage of myself as a narrator promising a film that never surfaces. In xo_xx, instead of mastering vocal recordings, I inserted live vocals where my modulated live voice spoke in place of the female deities. In xo_xy, the footage from the film in Mexico City was not ready so instead I had to use deteriorated and degraded footage from the shoot. In all cases, the accidents tied thematically in with the work, so I would say it was unintentionally successful.
For the research project, I enjoyed going into the works of Lacan and Deleuze to find theoretical frameworks for these artworks. I am not sure if I was successful in writing a coherent academic paper, or a Deluezian stream-of-consciousness work based on connections, so it ended up being somewhere between form and function and not quite either. But useful for future work, when I think I would like to use less European theories to look at my own work.

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