A Gleaner

2020/21    |   Carousel slide projector, film slides, wooden cabinet, two-channel digital video projection, sound, text  

13min., 56sec. 

 Variable dimensions 

Layering of personal confession and manipulation of found objects while simultaneously offset by optical distortions, sound glitches, material decays and malfunctioned machines, A Gleaner narrates the artist's obsessive relationship with the Archive from an intimate perspective.

 

The double-projection consists of digital video loops featuring a microscopic landscape of torched film slides. In the center of the room, facing away from the videos, a carousel slide projector is situated in a custom made cabinet with the lens illuminating a warm gradient of orange and pink hue on the opposite wall across the space, but does not seem to be working. From the same side of the cabinet, a steady and diarytic voice is amplified through a built-in speaker. Behind the cabinet facing towards the double projection, a half closed/open drawer full of 35mm film slides spilling out of the box invites the audience to interact with them.

 

*Only when the audience positions their body in front of the projector lens, they begin to see that there is an image and some words being emitted. (The text “keep but do not show” is carved onto a slide copy of Jean-François Millet’s painting, The Gleaners.)

 

Between the material and the visceral, the colorful and the catastrophic, the work hinges on the concealment of historical references as well as public display of the innermost vulnerability to speak of the artist's desire and melancholia against an archive that does not belong to her.

Audio Transcript:

 

“Discard” is an interesting word because it refers to a state of desire in the past tense. I like watching the plastics warp and their residual values, the image, the story, the memories, the sound of ocean waves splashing the upper deck and the patiently glowing sunlight through the cracks of the canyon, all burned away.

 

Maybe it was a little sick, how obsessive I was with my heat gun but who cares anyway. Do you get that feeling like homesickness and you forgot what it was like to smell the grease from a stranger’s window on a damped late summer night? Every time I smell that, I want to cry. You don’t get it. Very few gets it. But in that smell I remember how much of a shy kid I was, how I used to roll into dirt at the end of the slide, and how it makes me remember. Remember who I was.

 

While the smell faints in air, those memories diluted, varnished with not only the thickness of time, but also with the language I learned to speak, are now more and more insignificant. English is a dangerous tongue. It makes you forget.

 

I have to really aim my gun at the right angle, fractions of an inch at the tips of my fingers could change the entire narrative. An accurate sabotage. What I chose to spoil.

 

I struggled with learning to feel like home here. And for a long long time, long at least for a kid, I was sick of my new home. I kept a diary of how much I missed my past and till this day I am still shy to read it. A kid’s sorrow is too much of a burden for the adult. Trivial yet irritating, like an ant is eating me away, one small bite at a time.

 

I feel like a kid again. My raging heart is soothed by the scorched frames. Each and every smoldered cavity means a slit wound healed. After a while, my lung is filtrated by polymer smoke… Warm particles boiling in air.