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DISCESSIO

Installation work at Art Ark Gallery, San Jose, California, September-October 2018

INSTALLATIONS

H O M E

 
 

"Discessio" refers to the break up or dissolution of groups of people held together by certain ideals, goals, religion, or location; when the consensus of the group fractures, they disperse, divide, withdraw from public life, wander between confused convictions of reality.


It may also imply a loss of belief and a roaming, aimless course in the world.


Triggered by this loss of steady landmarks and of a magnetic pull toward the idea of home, the condition of discessio creates a kind of Brownian motion and aimless searching. The loss of a perceived identity of a common group creates internal divisions of self and other. To survive one must become an intrepid wanderer and reject tribalism. Misplaced and drifting in a sea of the unfamiliar, this is the true experience of the uncertainty of the future.


This immersive installation examines some of these metaphors of wandering, of dispersal, separation from the familiar, of being lost and being at the edge of discovery.  The space reverberates with a manipulated sound of crushing waves on the shoreline. 


 

The gallery is divided into four stations that progress into a calming haze of blue light.


On the entry wall, a reel-to-reel tape recorder/player plays distorted sounds of ocean breakers.  The audio tape, instead of being gathered by the take-up reel, drops to the floor a random snarl of magnetic ribbon, now lost, never to be replayed again. 


Behind the entry wall is a large glass table with an rippling water-like surface created by fans and lights acting upon a crinkled mylar sheet. Strange aimless, inverted shadows of model wooden passenger ships play on the walls and ceiling. The viewer feels simultaneously above and below the surface of this false sea.


The general course of the vessels navigate toward the projection of an image of a compass on the opposite wall. The compass lacks the mark of magnetic north, and like the reel-to-reel recorder, turns in the same direction. One can imagine the passengers of each ship, first class, steerage and crew negotiating the melancholy task of maintaining a lost course.


Mounted above the projector is a fog machine that fills the space with a mysterious haze; the beam of the projector forms a cone of vision that one can palpably move through.


Beyond the last wall is a blue field of light that wavers and oscillates, like the moon reflecting off of a barely disturbed meridian of a distant watery expanse.