FINDING ELSA (2017) 2:50 excerpt from a 16:29 video installation Dave Simonds (Filmmaker)
The work is called Finding Elsa in reference to the Baroness Elsa Von Freytag Loringhoven, a poet and artist active in the early 1900s who is now at the center of a controversy over who was the original creator of FOUNTAIN. The controversy started with the discovery of a letter that entered the public domain in 1983. It is from Duchamp to his sister in April of 1917 and states: ‘One of my female friends under a masculine pseudonym, Richard Mutt, sent in a porcelain urinal as a sculpture, since there was nothing indecent about it, there was no reason to reject it’. I’m not interested in entering this debate from an art historical position or as a critic of Duchamp or Elsa, but rather because of what is important to me in the way the controversy aligns itself with the issues I’m attempting to communicate about the cages we find ourselves in at any given time. You throw off one layer to find another still intact. In this video a life size projected image of the person inside a rolling bottlerack rolls onto the screen and periodically throws one of the 52 handmade porcelain objects from the rack against the wall. The thrown objects disappear as they leave the "projected image", but the sound of them smashing is heard from where you would expect it in the room. This is accomplished via 8 sound channels and 8 speakers.
LANA (2014) Dave Simonds (Filmmaker) Song: "Code Breaker" by Zammuto
This continues my ongoing interest in animating sculpture. It features a sculptural costumes animated by the wearer. I use the inverted pockets to create a suggestive interior space that explores ideas about private/public, as well as vulnerability, in a hopefully poignant and humorous way. Participants: Trent Tabor, Alejandro Salas, Olivia Simonds, Ruth Bruno, Susan Quinn, Charlie Reetz, Ruby, Cole and Frank Jackson, and Karin Podmore
EDGE DRIFT (2008) (1:50) documentation of a sculptural sound installation
Edge Drift is an interdisciplinary/collaborative project with musician, Todd Reynolds. It consists of a figurative sculpture, (3/4 life-size), holding a dust broom and standing on, one of many, iceberg like forms in a dimly lit room. An elongated shadow emanating from the foot of the still figure extends along the floor and bends up the wall. The sculptural states of stillness and silence are literally broken through periodic moments of animation and sound-a shadow on the wall begins to move and play a violin composition specifically composed for this installation. In this piece, I’m attempting to focus on the unforeseeable “gap” that exists between the active/potential of the human spirit and the harsh/reality of self-imposed, circumstantial limitations. This is echoed by the contrast between the large-active shadow of the violinist, and the passive- silent, presence of the figure and iceberg-like landmasses.
Short experiment, made when living with a constant view of the sky meeting the ocean. The continuous exposure to the perfect horizon line caused me to think about our fraught attempts to maintain balance in all aspects of life and with the environment. Video made in Cadiz, Spain. Music by Marco F. Zonta.
SOUL (2016) Documentation of an event (1:09)
While at an artist residency in Oaxaca, Mexico, I was attracted to the object of the piñata, (which in Oaxaca is a paper mache covered ceramic vessel), and the idea of breakage, fallibility and fragility. This lead me to discover the histories of the Pinata across vast time periods, locations and religions. The ideas behind the breaking of the piñata go beyond our contemporary party activity, and are wide ranging, including such things as: god’s light, prizes, the womb, Satan, sins, the erotic and hope. The Italian word ‘pignatta’ means “fragile pot” and speaks to my attraction to the ideas about our human fragility and the precariousness in communication. I made my own piñata in which I housed a small speaker that played Nina Simone’s song “Don’t Let Me Be Understood”, as participants hit the piñata. The lyrics from the song, “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”, resonated with me for what I could see clearer from the distance of Mexico, while reflecting on the state of things that troubled me back home. Participants: Liliana Ambrosio, Santiago Beedxe, David Buuck, Manuel Diaz G., Estefany Diaz, Graciela Casacolonial, Michelle Golden, Laura Marotta, Ramona Ortiz, Julie Shafer and Jolanta Sprawka