SUSPENSION, 2013, HD video loop, 4:59 minutes
Contact artist for password (if necessary) to view video at: https://vimeo.com/57332216
A meditation on the suspension of time, expectation, and conscience.
Before the Platonic cave was the tomb, in which attendants saw to a sovereign’s secure afterworld passage. In today’s profane chambers of extraordinary rendition the roles and aims are reversed: the overlord watches the subjected to preclude any sojourn.
The bodies rendered can be any body; the stations anywhere; the circumstances undisclosed; the agents impugn; the victims without rights, recourse, rescue. The dirtiest wars, their participants and casualties are undeclared. All is suspended and one is suspended.
In SUSPENSION expectation evaporates, a wall dissolves, a shade sears, a block falters, a foot forebears and each perpetually transpose into one another. A steel pitch, forged tones, chords without resolve, drone. The chronic screech and the neurological beseech while despair, suffering and the civil are suspended. Nothing ceases.
SUSPENSION begins with a camera obscura that becomes a blank stone wall, a tabula rasa. Edges then resurface, becoming mass; a block distinguishes itself from the wall, darkening to become a cavernous shadow.
A single human foot hovers, suspended in flickering light above the reappearing block. The objectified engages with the object. The fleeting and striated lighting suggests the mechanisms of our institutional environments, from classrooms to torture chambers, electricity from the grid of infrastructure to the administration of shock.
Suspended, the foot creates suspense as it brushes the boundary between the tangible and intangible, between the transient and permanent. It alternates between the full-blooded and bloodless, the exploratory and the resigned, the caress and dead weight.
The foot is an appendage that represents the entire body but it can be any body. The individual is irrelevant when maintaining existing power structures. SUSPENSION speaks to subjects we refrain from discussing without artifice. The suspension of martyrs — holding them up — intensifies our encounter with their cause. The suspension of time, as in an isolation chamber, creates eternity from a moment. The suspension of conscience leaves us in ease.
During SUSPENSION, we surrender expectation as there is no climax, no narrative arch, leaving us to confront the undeniable present with heightened awareness. This counters the tendencies, whether innate or conditioned, of our conscience, which is perpetually manipulated to avert our gaze, to not look.
For the objectified, pain and suffering is all the more acute for knowing how close normalcy is, the proximity of the social. In SUSPENSION, that context fades away, first to neutral grey with the block and foot as the single and total reality, then to white blankness. The persistence of vision burns and blinds with a white-on-white after-image — the erasure of amnesia or the searing of trauma.
A note on the sound: The unresolved chords in Suspension evoke the existential statement in Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, the tinnitus suffered by those beaten about the head, and the resonances of sacred gongs and choruses. Its reverberation is not generated by a taut string, but from a metal tuning fork, subsequently digitally modified to become consciousness screaming. It is intended to hover on a hard line between the contemplative and the tortuous.