About the show:
Nothing to Declare is a contribution to contemporary discussion on migration, not only of people across borders, but of forms and realities across time and space, with the dysfunctional city of Manila as initial site. But instead of the subaltern who cannot speak[v], the project focuses on those who have nothing to declare –those whose marginality is source of intervention and strength, of subterfuge and resistance, of constraint as well as change.
In brief, NOTHING TO DECLARE revolves around the following interrelated themes:
1. shifting geographies emerging from diasporas, migrations, overseas work
2. shifting identities arising from movement, mobility, displacement, exchange; implying a sense of rootedness and slippage, identification and estrangement, familiarity and alienation, entitlement and distance
3. shifting spaces, connoting not just physical relocation, but mental and spiritual dis/position, as well as dislocations, gaps and silences that take place in immediate, virtual and hyper-realities
4. shifting positions, implying an appreciation of difference and a willingness to dialogue, work together, listen and engage.
5. shifting power relations, connoting multiple flows and streams of choices, constraints, control and conditions of creation, dissemination and reception
6. shifting possibilities, connoting transformations and breaking grounds where marginality – of having nothing to declare – IS source of intervention and strength, of loss as well as triumphs
As part of the Wandering Archives project, participating artists were asked to archive a queer life. I chose to examine the geographical passages of James Baldwin.
The video for “The Utopia Project” (2004) will be screening on November 13th as part of the Korean American Film Festival New York. The event includes film, video, & new media from U.S. & international artists. Live music & DJ’s also provided. Looks like a dynamic lineup! Glad to be a part of this great event.
Some images of our work tonight. We utilized two elegantly powerful projectors & Isadora to help map our videos onto the natural surfaces of Mitchell’s Cove, an inlet off the ocean in Santa Cruz. All photos by Soraya Murray.
Our projection surfaces:
“Architectures of Memory” is scheduled to go up on Friday, October 21st. Recent projector tests looked promising.
“Architectures of Memory” (working title) will be a site-specific, multichannel video and audio installation situated within the ocean inlet at West Cliff Drive and Sunset Avenue in Santa Cruz, California. Through personal recollections and the dynamic cohesion of video projection design, this public artwork will explore the many complexities and poetics of the construction of memory and its erosion within the human brain. This particular outdoor site offers a wealth of exciting opportunities for this work, with its combination of man-made structures and the natural erosion of the cliffs and surrounding area that has occurred over time. These very elements join to create a natural theater of sorts, a space beckoning for activation, exploration, and experience. At night, the site takes on a heightened sense of mystery and magic, with the sounds of the ocean amplified through the darkness, and the outlines of the ocean tide and outlying cliffs just visible to the eye. Our installation would be a series of poetic moving images, text, and audio that literally and metaphorically light up the space with stories of memory, loss, and recovery. Content will be created from interviews with individuals about personal memory, its emotional correlations, and sensory characteristics. The ultimate goal of this piece is to create a public artwork that is dynamic and sensory, and that provides the viewer with a space for individual contemplation and collective experience.”
The Utopia Project | Installation for Public Spaces
First street tests of the Utopia Project in Brooklyn, NY. Intended as a series of video installations to be projected onto the streets and architectural facades of the Financial District in NYC, this project began as an investigation into the Greek origins of the word utopia, and its various translations as ‘no-place’ or ‘good place.’ I wanted to know what contemporary interpretations could be activated within the political, social, and economic climate of the time, namely during the second term of Bush’s administration and the Iraq War. Other questions of place, the meaning of place, and personal conceptions of utopia in relation to one’s place in the world were also investigated. Choosing the Financial District for this project was intended as an intervention of a site (as place, or no-place) and its the symbolic power.
Transitional Soccer (2008) / multichannel installation / programmed with Isadora
A four channel video and audio installation that uses soccer as a metaphor for exploring the emergences of relationality between individuals and societies within the context of nation-building.
Images were taken from a soccer match between Iraq and The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, two countries branded by George W. Bush as points on his so-called “Axis of Evil”.
I was particularly interested in exploring the complexities and possible relationships between the languages nations choose in the writing of their constitutions, nation-building, and the dynamics of geopolitical relationships.