Atlantic Works Gallery, Easy Boston
View 3D gallery tour here.
The installation re-mythologizes noisy historical and contemporary events, bringing together the cannonballs and tablets I had cast at a BAU residency in Otranto, Italy, two years earlier. New works include sculptural triptychs and monoprints made in the printshop during a 2017 Mass MoCA residency, which represent deliberate subtraction of sound and actions of self-censorship. Invited guest artists included Christine Coënon, French sound artist and filmmaker living in Paris; and Boston-based artist John Wilkinson, who fabricated a plexiglass mobile, “The Blue Bolt.”
Gallery-goers take pictures in a delineated photo booth area. People choose a word that answers: “What silences you?” They then select either a gold or black hood to pull over their head. The intention was to feel the silencing; perhaps a lack of individuality as well.
The installation impact slides between sound made visible and the unquiet silent aftershock of decapitated explosives. The exhibited Cannonball Skins are casts of the weapons fired from galley ships during the 1480 Ottoman Invasion of Italy.
The Cannonball Skins capture the essence of those weapons: the layer of silence that resides between violence and its aftermath, between life and death, between perpetrator and victim, between cultures and borders, between our earth and the dome of heaven, between stone and air.
Each Cannonball Skin is marked with a word relating to the initial act of violence. Time. Space. History. Movement. Existential Questions. Fear of Sons. Conflict.
A few friends suggested black hooded heads were politically incorrect. I listened and began to witness my own silencing. Political Correctness does has silencing effect. Nonetheless, I continued. As a human being in 2017, this is what is going on, this is what I saw, this is what I associated during the artistic process.
At the opening event at Atlantic Works Gallery, Middle Eastern artists and scholars Wafaa Alonazi, Amal Allkalifa and Amana Alabri performed “Everything You Might Have Wanted to Know About the Abaya but Didn’t Know Who to Ask.”
I interpreted those abductions within a lineage of war crimes, on-the-job-harassment, domestic violence, and purposeful silencing of women by their families, men and other women. Ironically, the installation went up the same month Harvey Weinstein was arrested.
Flocks of starlings. The sea, The cathedral. Voices and sounds from a seaside town located way, way down at the sole of the heel of Italy's boot. Otranto is the installation's geographic locus and material source, never silent, sometimes quiet.