Video screening. In the perennial flux of our contemporary lives with their voyages, translocations, migrations, diasporas, peregrinations and tours, arrivals and departures are the common ground of multi-sensory experiences that drift through time and place. Works by: Maria Antelman, Stefano Cagol, Tommy Hartung, Hans Op de Beeck, Adrian Paci, Hiraki Sawa, Marcella Vanzo.
Curated by: Micaela Giovannotti
In the perennial flux of our contemporary lives with their voyages, translocations, migrations, diasporas, peregrinations and tours, ARRIVALS and DEPARTURES are the common ground of multi-sensory experiences that drift through time and place.
Either voluntary or forced upon us, happily embraced or bitterly lamented, personal journeys - their expectations and memories - create haunting tales that shift between fantasy and reality, playing a pivotal role in our exponentially shrinking global village.
These implicit and explicit narratives are the subtext that transports us through the continuum in these works, leaving an indelible footprint in our psyches.
In Marcella Vanzo’s Summertime, the harrowing, life saving boat trip of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea leaves almost no room for imagination and no metaphor implied. In a split screen projection, it is grotesquely paired with the festive day trip of tourists invading the shores of beautiful and once pristine beaches.
Ghostly and desolate is Hans Op de Beeck’s Drifting, where evocative opera lyrics open and close the vibrant stage of a dark and mysterious confession. The melancholy phrase, “We just drift, nothing more, nothing less” is resignedly uttered by an off-screen male narrator while saying farewell to his beloved.
Equally ghostly but in a lyrically dreamy way is Hiraki Sawa’s Hidden Tree, wherein a phantom animal’s silhouette outlined in white wanders through a surreal and uninhabited landscape. The reversed negative imagery – white on black – conjures both vaguely apocalyptic nuclear associations as well as bittersweet pangs of primordial loneliness.
The Story of Edward Holmes takes us through a complex fictional adventure created by Tommy Hartung. Here the artist re-creates a monumental mock-up figure of a colonist and follows him as he wanders through archeological props and stereotypical models of western domination of indigenous culture.
Referencing obsolete space explorations, sci-fi entertainment and classical literary precedents, Maria Antelman’s video is a surreal trip through the abandoned NASA Ames Research Center in Northern California. The adventure is accompanied by an incomprehensible, poetic narration of tah pagh taHbe, Shakespeare’s ‘to be or not to be,’ translated into Klingon. This artificial tongue was originally created by a linguist for the iconic star trek series as a complete language. Fictional at first, it has now become one of the fastest growing languages in the universe, according to the Klingon Language Institute’s website.
Linguistics also take center stage in Stefano Cagol’s The Flu ID, where texts from Italo Calvino’s The Invisible Cities (1972), based on a dialogue between Kublai Kahn and Marco Polo, are interspersed throughout with images of distracted pedestrians flowing at different speeds through an enclosed transitory space in Tokyo. Every individual is anonymously portrayed in a completely aseptic non-place, intensely focused on a mundane, routine journey.
Finally, in Centro di permanenza temporanea, titled in reference to the camps where illegal refugees get temporarily hosted in Italy, Adrian Paci films the hopeful and somber procession of indigent people, stranded on an airport runway ascending the portable stairway to a non-existent aircraft. What might have been a journey to a life-changing destination reveals itself as a cruel and pitiless dead-end. This is the final and last stop.
Artist: Maria Antelman, Stefano Cagol, Tommy Hartung, Hans Op de Beeck, Adrian Paci, Hiraki Sawa, Marcella Vanzo.
Saturday, March 29 from 3 to 8 pm
525 West 26th Street, Chelsea – New York