Mixed media installation, altered book, sound, film, color
Exhbhited in Palazzo Lazzaroni, Largo di Torre Argentina
Rome, Italy (December 2015).
"Imagining the brain closer than the eyes..."
NO SIGNAL (2015) is a new media project composed of a two-part installation: an altered book and immersive film loop projected onto translucent, cathedral-referencing screens.
In the installation, the altered book operates as an object of reality— meant to counter both the content and immateriality of the film loop: a post-produced, disorganised grid of video snippets documented while traveling, displayed to describe memory as a confusing passage of time.
The translucent sheets absorb, scatter, and convert the aesthetic of projections into a blurred, convoluted canvas– and, like stained-glass, reflect the colored passage of light as a gesture of memories within a contained space.
The installation becomes my own, holy barricade of intimacy like a personal cathedral— what I have come to describe as after standing within the cathedrals of Brussels and Paris during my travels, and after noticing how stained glass, like memory, transcends images as a result of passing time, through variations of an external source– natural light, throughout the day. Controlled by the projector’s artificial light, the disorganisation of my projections circulate my memories spontaneously as I would recollect it in the mind.
Within the intimacy of the installation space, the perversion of my memories are metaphorized by the set-aside book, mounted on the pedestal as an elevated object of reality. Headphones alongside the book allow the viewer to take a step into this space and listen to the soundtrack– comprised of backgrounds I isolated from my raw videos, and then layered and compiled into a two-channel soundscape.
The book describes the perversion of my memories while traveling by situating the alterations of pages around focused and recurrent headlines taken from newspapers of countries I have traveled to over the last five months, and these headlines have become an intrinsic language I had once ceased to ignore.
Only by coincidence and luck, for example, had I escaped the tragedies in Paris and Brussels if I had not been in the right place at the right time. As I am one of the only people in my generation who still read the papers, I turn my habit of collecting into a habit of dispersal: when I start to read the headlines of papers again, a prevalent list of phrases compile and start to scream at me, and was even said or heard by me (or my friends) at least once. These mutations of the idioms and typical “enjoyment phrases” of traveling are the biting double meanings which I had once failed to notice as, interchangings of politically corrupt, poetic jargon extracted from the media. The phrases in my book are thus a sublime form of the media’s funnelling, hinting, and scattering of global news internationally when re-interpreted, from both an American (the International New York Times) and European (main newspapers collected in Italy over five months, as well as in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany) perspective.
Like the stained glass in cathedrals which use light to sculpt the holiness of an internal space, it allows the viewer to appreciate time in the current moment by its temporal highlights– while memories, in the case of my installation, can only be recollected as a static color, or an ambiguous form of light. The freezing of time, as permanent as it may seem to remain (such as a tragedy that haunts us), is only an impending feeling that is re-inscribed by images and words.
The main artery of my installation is a static spotlight of a typical, “no signal” broadcast (a strictly divided, muti-colored render in the bottom of my projection screen) onto my book. The broadcast reminds me that, NO SIGNAL functions in the installation as both a conceptual and anecdotal reminder that archiving life will always come with archiving double meaning– it is a reference to the saturated colours which stain my memories like glass, and there will never be clarity in recollecting a memory, nor will there ever be a clear signal in predicting the path a nation will take in lieu of blanketed terror and political strife– and nevertheless… A country will always keep going.