A loaded gun to play Russian roulette.
We enter the gallery’s courtyard below a projection of the lovers playing in the city with ludic innocence. A dj stationed in the back of a minivan spins dance tracks from the 90s. The quality of the environment in the courtyard is reminiscent of a scene from the lives of the lovers. Fashionably late, they arrive by pulling their car into the courtyard and then let us know we are going to be sharing the space of an unpredictable event. But before we start, to set the stage for fantasy and not role-play, the female lead is killed and dies in the opening act. Chronology becomes unimportant, the dramatization breaks the ice with the crowd who assume they are safe observers of the narrative, but the excitement stays intact and the gallery is opened. Within the space our main light sources are the projections on the walls, a cacophonous array of allusions and memories and the many things in culture that hold meaning for the lovers – a way Miami and America in the time period of the 90s comes more into focus. The direct light of the projection tools into your eyes as you walk around the dim gallery space, giving an optical effect of refocusing the two installation spaces loosely divided by hanging translucent sheets. The dj plays and for a few minutes turns the gallery into a club-like environment with the lovers moving about the space. At this point, we sense the possible outcome of several storytelling experiments.
The many different kinds of light and image directly affect the audience’s experience of the installation. During the event, being in the gallery was viewing an examined and opened life. Removing the entropy of the narrative inherently causes in the viewer a desire to arrive somewhere stable – like at the summit of an archive, a philosophy, the ideas of fear or surveillance or even love, as one strives for a personal resting place, mentally and spatially. As information is revealed the composition expands and the work is reframed. At the point of viewing the information, we become limited by the frame but can expand it using information in the images. The nature of our relationship to our viewing frames our physical boundaries and dictates how we gather information. The images around us can be seen as a perceivable form. The show begins to imply a very solid but transparent thread to the ontology of the viewing apparati. Redacted Love subjects the lives of its two main characters to a positivist identification process in its voyeuristic stereotype portrayal. The lovers are “deemed” representations of individuals of a cultural condition, and therefore display a stereotype-able cultural condition. Justified by a monistic explanation of the condition of the voyeuristic isolation, the lovers become a collage of irreducible elements with an infinite potential for mythologization due to their embodiment of plot, setting, and character simultaneously.
The representation of the lovers is a staging of metaphorical mirrors so that the audience experiences the draw into the heterotopia of archive, borrowing the eyes the voyeur. We see that deriving archived information is the same as the retelling of the story, and that information will be bound by a frame and subjected to error in human recollection. Our primary constituents of redaction in the piece are the nature of the projected environment of recordings and the portrayal of the lovers’ narrative. Knowing that the imagery is synonymous to the mental imagery of the characters, it also plays the background role as their context of a cultural unconsciousness. The narrative of love is painfully wrought by the push and pull of the lovers’ internal image and external information systems. Context becomes true grist for the mill of the many representation systems present in the performances. Installations fill the gallery space as the lovers become the window to a final window.
If you felt the safety in firing off the piece’s meaning into a corner of your mind during the event you missed the chance to look at the frame of your own subjectivity. Not always will an art piece come so close to the personal and not always does a piece offer a chance to examine the way the light of reflection, real or metaphorical, can create a volleying of meaning necessary to the process of creating and keeping a “myth” alive. The tropes, plot, setting, content, context and characters of Redacted Love individually are complex spaces to explore within in the piece but in each one we find ourselves arriving at the uncomfortable one-dimensional space of self-perception as our own internal fetishization and confusion creates an uncontrollable telescoping of a living subject.
“Every portion of matter can be thought of as a garden full of plants, or as a pond full of fish. But every branch of the plant, every part of the animal, and every drop of its vital fluids, is another such garden, or another such pool. [...] Thus there is no uncultivated ground in the universe; nothing barren, nothing dead.” (Monadology, §§67 & 69) - Gottfried Leibniz
The superficial appearance of the lovers as Miami stereotype does the opposite of insulating their identity – Redacted Love states that the reification of complex cultural substances–through a process of identifying its tightly bound monads–leads to an ultimately unsettling realm of mis-recognition and representation. When an individual is responsible for their self-recognition, as one experiences in the context of being “watched,” the frame of perception becomes a blurred horizon, and the disorientation of self is caused by a boundless subjectivity. Don’t be satisfied by judging the particularities of our main characters, for the dynamics of their condition are part and parcel of the elusiveness of continuity.
Artists involved include Liz Ferrer, Kevin Arrow, Barron Sherer, Romulo Del Castillo, Stefanie Del Papa, Tara Long and Misael Soto.
DJ Tracks Featured Altern8- Armageddon, The Orb- Little Fluffy Clouds remixed by Pal Joey
This post was contributed by Cassidy Fry
Most images courtesy of Monica McGivern