Site-specific performance and exhibition, 2007
Following on the heels of the 2006 performance of A Seasome Medley, the same group of artists now presents their second collaborative endeavor, Vision Request. An exhibition and collaborative performance hosted by Andrea Zittel and organized by Jennifer Dudley, Sarrita Hunn, and Ben Kinsley, Vision Request took place on Saturday, May 19th, 2007 at A-Z West in Joshua Tree, CA. During this one day event, works made by individual artists were on view, culminating in the performance of a Play of Light and Shadow at twilight.
The exhibition included a desert monad, an in-ground tea ceremony, an anthropomorphic billboard, a miniature railroad through the West, a burying place for all strangers, a Super 8 projection, and the remains of something truly horrific. These individual projects, and many others, were accompanied by the collaborative work of all the Vision Request artists, the Play of Light and Shadow. A natural rock amphitheater illuminated by flashlights set the stage for the play and the narrative took a séance as its point of departure.
Just as the medium in a séance acts as a conduit between the physical and spiritual realms, one understanding of the artist is as an interpreter of culture or history through the physicality of his or her media. Our media in this performance was a shadow play, which is part of the historical lineage of proto-cinematic approaches for creating illusions that includes Phantasmagoria, spinning Fantascope, and Magic Lantern shows. By creating an illusion that reveals its own construction, such devices encourage imaginative participation, allowing the viewer to simultaneously play the magician and the deceived. In such a situation the artist is neither a medium for spirits, nor universal expressions of history or culture. Rather, the artist opens up a space for a conversation about the role of illusion to take place. It is just such a space that Vision Request invites you to occupy.
The Vision Request artists were: Colleen Asper, Elena Bajo, Katie Creyts, Benjamin Dowell, Craig Drennen, Jennifer Dudley, Takehito Etani, Sarrita Hunn, Ben Kinsley, Yvonne Lung, Katja Mater, Lilly McElroy, Andrew Scott Ross, Adam Shecter, Mark Taber, Montana Torrey, Louisa Van Leer, and Robert Wechsler.
Many thanks to Andrea Zittel and our documentary crew: Matthew Hughes Boyko, Ben Bunch, Victoria Fu, and Ryan Thayer.