A Nuclear Happening at Site A
a collaboration with Amber Ginsburg
On July 14, 2013, Alicia Chester and Amber Ginsburg held an experimental happening at Site A, the burial ground of the first chain nuclear reactor, CP-1 (Chicago Pile 1). The site where its radioactive waste was buried is nearby in Plot M, which is simply marked by a white stone cube.
We deployed a 14’ x 14’ inflatable room at Site A in the form of the cubed memorial marker at Plot M and held a picnic inside with invited guests, the centerpiece of which was a layer cake representing CP-1.
The concept was to collapse symbolic spaces by bringing a ghostly version of the memorial shape of Plot M’s stone marker to the burial ground of Site A. Through inviting friends to a communal event and sharing a cake in the form of the buried reactor, the event took on the flavor of a Day of the Dead picnic commemorating the life and death of the first nuclear chain reactor and all the complications that entail from this local Chicago history.
a collaboration with Andrea Slavik
Vito Acconci’s canonical early video work engages hierarchical power struggles, sexuality, violence, control, and resistance. Acconci Redux was a collaborative project to remake early videos by Vito Acconci in the collection of the Video Data Bank with women and queer artists as the protagonists. These seemed to be simple enough parameters to explore the intersections of performance and video and to ask: what does it mean to change the gender dynamic and remake Acconci’s work decades later?
These artists were not simply stand-ins for Acconci but collaborators whose work resonated with the specific videos with which they were matched. Using Acconci’s original performances as scripts and working within basic parameters, they were free to interpret the performances as they wished. Some strayed far from the original works, although the seeds remain recognizable. The results were collaborative performances created for video in which highly personal aspects of each artist’s work and personality remain tangibly present.
In Sounding Board (Dec 2011), Gordon Hall lies on top of speakers playing a track list she has selected. J. Soto interprets and reacts to the music on Hall's body, so that they feel the music coming through their body from the speakers and simultaneously feels Soto's reactions to the music and to their body.
View the original video here.
In Theme Song (Feb 2012/Aug 2013), Kate Bowen attempts to seduce the viewer to join her in the space of the video, reacting to the pop songs she plays and performing a range of emotions related to remembered and possible romantic involvements.
View the original video here.
a collaboration with ACRE residents
While attending the ACRE artist residency, I filmed other residents using Super-8 stock in a manner inspired by Andy Warhol's films. The intention was to form a web of connection among residents while resting in silent contemplation of each other. The length of time was dictated by the film footage; the shoot was over when the film stopped. I also filmed a local Civil War reenactment while attending the residency. The resulting footage of the reenactment was looped in an exhibition installation in a dark alcove using a super-8 projector and a one-way mirror as a screen. This screen faced a monitor displaying digitized footage (created using a D-SLR) of the residents. The viewer stood between the screen and the monitor to view both alternately while the residents appeared to be looking back at the reenactment footage.
Love letters to anonymous people
a collaboration with Edmund Chia
I created work based on part of a script given to me by Edmund Chia, PEREGRINEPROGRAM (Chicago) founder and former director, for a group exhibition titled a long line (2013). Chia's script was site- and context-specific; having to move from Chicago, Peregrine and his studio, he left a long line of text, broken up into 43 parts and distributed to artists for their interpretation, none of whom were privy to the complete document.
My part of the script was "this is... Terry Gross." Thinking of this journalist's reputation for profoundly intimate interviews, I wrote my own script in counterpoint to Chia's in the form of a love letter to anonymous people. I created an edition of 250 copies of this letter, and anyone could request for one to be signed and mailed to them.
100 copies were signed, enclosed in envelopes, and displayed in a hinged wooden box in a long line for visitors to take. The project was also included in Chia's collaborative exhibition in the Praxis and Project spaces at The Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2014).