Selfish Chair is a writer, untrained and disorganized, deeply concerned with people, their lives, their relationships, though utterly incapable of engaging with them himself. She is a chair, after all, living quietly in a small room where she works, sleeps, eats. A seven by seven by eight foot space in Hollywood. She can see everything from here and this room applies a great pressure to her thinking. She cannot escape the heavy-handed influence of the popular culture she was raised on: television, going to the movies, music, plastic objects. She has many facebook friends. She hates parties but wishes to be invited to them. She is funny.
follow this project…
“The guards scrambled around, five of them now, all yelling at each other. “No! No! Move that way! She’s going this way! No, no! She’s going that way!” And the girls, we all just stood there in the doorway, laughing, warning him which way to run, some of us moving furniture into the path of the guards. This mass of fucked up girls all rooting for our friend: to evade his captors, to make them look stupid, to liberate the Day Room. And his dancing, giggling, intelligent body bent that room into something new…”
Moving Pictures, Things, Words, and Cues by Kristy Lovich
Performances, Interventions, & Disasters by NEEB
Additional encounters to be announced…
Closing Event: Saturday, February 1, 7:00pm
3201 Maple Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011
Some more info about this work:
MEET ME IN THE DAY ROOM. THEY ARE PLAYING YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE.
Moving Pictures, Things, Words, and Cues by Kristy Lovich | http://www.klovich.com
CUT TO: INT. − DAY ROOM – EVENING – CONTINUOUS
The Day Room, a social space typically housed within institutional architectures like prisons and residential mental health centers, is often the only space within these sites sanctioned for recreational activity: playing games, reading, writing, watching films and T.V., or just speaking casually with your peers. Held at the center of these buildings, the Day Room appears to be a space of freedom, fostering the ability to make choices, to determine how your mind will be occupied, to decide where your body will exist and what it will do. However, always suspended around the perimeter of the Day Room is the authority of the institution itself, regulating time, granting permission, and taking it away. And as much as the Day Room is a place to freely look and think, it is also a place to be looked at and thought about.
Similar to the space of a movie theater I began to think of the Day Room as a kind of cinema, a place for looking, a location where stories unfold publicly through sharing and performance and privately through contemplation. Beginning with the written narrative of my own firsthand experiences of being institutionalized as a teenager, I constructed a Day Room, composed of found furniture, objects, and junk; abandoned windows, and doors. And inside this room, my stories collide with those I have collected from participants over the last year through social media and one on one conversations. Some of these stories deal directly with institutionalization while others recount memories of objects and places. Inside this set, these biographies collide with moving images borrowed from Chaplin’s Modern Times and The Wizard of Oz and an accumulation of photographic and video images that document critical moments embedded in our social memory: The 1992 L.A. Uprising (aka riots), the falling of the Twin Towers, the 2006 LAPD attacks on protesters in Mac Arthur Park, the last moments of Trayvon Martin’s life caught on surveillance video… and many more.
This collision of stories provides a space to choose: How you will engage with these objects, videos, texts, and images? Through a passive looking and listening or your own entrance into the narrative through voluntary performance? Here, the Day Room becomes an active cinema, a territory to contemplate how our remembering and forgetting impacts the construction of personal and social story; to consider how the physical and psychic architectures that house these narratives can shape their outcome. And then, this folly of building and tearing apart begs the question: how do we defy these outcomes? How do we liberate the Day Room?
Contributing artists, writers, performers:
Akira Watts, Adam Beat aka MC Prose, Art Carillo, Andrea Penagos, Andy Bennett, Christy Ramirez, Clare Fox, Colleen Hargaden, Elizabeth Freeman, Ezekiel Rahim Rettino Provost, Elyn Kazarian, Erick Huerta, Holli Teltoe, Iliana Carter Ramirez, John Varga, Julie Hey, Janis Sage, Julie Lovich, Jazz Hart, Jeanette Iskat, Joschua Beres, Jack Moll, Katie Grinnan, Kelly Doyle, Laura Luna, Maya Selene Yanez Santiago, Nati Carerra, Patrisse Cullors, Ricky Jones, Shane Rivera, Stephen Kugelberg, Susan Carillo Hall, Tamara Rettino (Additional contributors TBA)
And a special thank you to Julie Lovich, for collaboration on installation design, John Carlos de Luna for transport and installation, and Skira Martinez at CIELO Galleries for hosting space for this work.
Meet me in the day room. They are playing your favorite movie.
Moving pictures, things, sounds, and words by Kristy Lovich
Performance by Susan Carillo Hall
A threshold designed by Ezekiel Rahim Rettino Provost
And one mysterious object, curated by Maya Selene Yanez Santiago
With (dis)appearances by The Middle (kind of a museum)
Among other slippery ruins and rememberings.
Contributing Writers & Storytellers: Akira Watts, Art Carillo, Adam Beat aka MC Prose, Andrea Penagos, Andy Bennett, Christy Ramirez, Clare Fox, Colleen Hargaden, Elizabeth Freeman, Elyn Kazarian, Erick Huerta, Joschua Beres, John Varga, Julie Hey, Jazz Hart, Joanna Bassi, Jeanette Iskat, Kelly Doyle, Katie Grinnan, Laura Luna, Nati Carerra, Ricky Jones, Shane Rivera, Stephen Kugelberg, Tamara Rettino. (Additional narrators TBA)
Opening: Sunday, January 12, 6pm
Cielo Galleries & Studios
3201 Maple Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011
While my broad curiosities finger the connective tissue that forms a persons perception of their relationship to the world, how they simultaneously shape it and are shaped by it, I consider heavily those experiences we each have moved through that contain the potential to shift our consciousness, fundamentally, to redefine our concepts of power and identity. And I zero in on those moments we act upon and are acted upon by an immersive constellation of happenings. The moments when (even if briefly) the veil is lifted between the Self and The Other, the disintegration of that protective layer designed to obscure the inner workings of the mechanisms between you as a self contained being and the exterior world you are a part of. That moment that you see.
And I speculate that Deleuze described something like this when he talked about singularities, that is “turning points and points of inflection; bottlenecks, knots, foyers, and centers; points of fusion and condensation, and boiling; points of tears and joy, sickness and health, hope and anxiety, ‘sensitive’ points.” (Logic of Sense, Deleuze, p. 63) And of course, we can bear witness to these kinds of moments clearly when we see them in films: the inciting incident, the moment when the protagonist is confronted with a decision that will change the course of the story, the instant that the conflict seems as though it will boil over and we are held there, suspended in our empathy, changing with the hero. This center of intersubjectivity, with the projected character on the screen allows us to be submerged in that decisive instant, both as an objective witness and as the subjective agent. Through this arrangement of image, sound, and time, we can become present, embodied in the blurring of the distance between inside and outside.
What if I began to watch my life like a movie?
When I was little, I wrote a lot of stories. And like any good writer, I was always deeply concerned with making better stories. My mother, also a writer, would read my drafts and I would ask her for advice. And she always said: write about what you know. As a kid, this was very helpful, practical wisdom. When searching for subjects to write bout, I could use this cue to mine my own life for anecdotes: school, friends, my backyard, my dog. And I would weave these kinds of subjects in with fantasy, stolen from the pages of my favorite novels. Many years later, as an adult, a fully-fledged grown writer (and artist) I still return to this advice. When I began this project, charging myself with the task of integrating writing with sculpture and film, taking a speculative reach toward the ways that power and agency function in our personal and political lives, I struggled momentarily with where to begin. And thankfully, the simple phrase grounded me in a starting place: Write about what you know.
I first needed to begin with why. Why this subject? Why this concern with the ways that power and agency function? Why right now? I am always watching, in a nearly obsessive way, listening for patterns, looking for the ruptures in sequence that collectively, ironically become a pattern too when they accumulate. And what has become increasingly clear over the last several years are the effects of living in a post 9/11 world, our lives fully immersed in information delivery systems and the rupturing of a perceived cultural stability. That prior to our ability to know what’s going on, anywhere in the world, at any given moment, many of us were able to exist in a relatively copasetic state, kept safe from an awareness of social conflict and inequity (unless of course you were victim of such). And I began to think that perhaps this naiveté was fertile ground to cultivate the misguided belief that we had some time ago arrived to a post racial, post sexist, postcolonial world in which our collective consciousness not only realized but mended the catastrophic wounds of systemic oppression. What we have seen most recently, through our relationships with social media and open source information platforms is that many of the social ills previously believed to be resolved still maintain an incredible hold over our lives together. And further, that when this information is shared, it has had the power to incite serious renegotiations of power and space, personhood and identity. The result of this has birthed a number of domestic and international instances of social unrest, constructing moments of solidarity between groups of people who at one time did not perceive of themselves as allies, and driving apart even further those whom historically have always been divided. The simulacra we gaze upon and interact with, that digital theater we build, writes in real time the representation of our world via seemingly innocuous facebook or blog post, through the look upon the television, phone, computer, movie screen. This context sets the parameters for new inquiries into the nature of intersubjectivity, the scope of social narrative, and invites exciting questions about how social structures can change from the inside out. This moment pushes on the need to understand how consciousness shifts, right now.
I positioned that loving piece of advice from my mother on writing within this frame and thought that to better understand how change happens, how people realize themselves to be active agents in their world, I would need to begin with myself and write about what I know. So, I began to watch my life like a movie. I recounted the moments that for me, as the protagonist of my film, presented themselves as those singularities, those distinct experiences that redirected my sense of agency, that revealed the behavior of power, ultimately restructuring my subjective identity, changing my relationship with the world.
What emerged after a thorough reconstruction, a remembering of my most formative experiences were four distinct scenarios: (1) surviving rape, (2) a suicide attempt and subsequent institutionalization, (3) dropping out of high school, and (4) my participation in a peaceful political demonstration that was attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department. And like any good film, there were sub plots set in place to shape and form the story and places that provided context for the logic of this filmic universe. Some of these places existed in real space like the Hollywood Wax Museum and my studio and some in the frames of other films like The Wizard of Oz and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, and some presented themselves as these obscure sites, barely discernable except through mediated memory and aging VHS home video recordings.
As I watched this film, I felt like these experiences rendered me acutely aware of the ways that violence, both physical and psychological, impacted ones belief in their own empowered existence. That the proximity I maintained to the memories of these experiences was food for a deep sensitivity to the suffering of others. This sensitivity translated into a comprehension of how trauma changes our relationships, to ourselves, to each other, to the world that we live in. And then, when this logic is magnified, applied to the political, it was very easy to draw the lineages between systemic, generational trauma and the current condition of our social lives. The constellatory mindscape that began to form revealed a complex of experience, complete with a fractal logic that can served to provide openings into how and why I have come to understand myself as a participant in the world, as a cultural worker, and perhaps in a humble way, speculates on how the personal and political become informants to one another.
“And now she was able to shower. She had tried once before, the first night, to wash off the hours she spent being ferried from office to office, building to building, answering questions from strangers that carved away at her most precious secrets. Her elbow cradled by the hand of a nurse while they walked, the deceiving kindness of his touch always prepared to revert to force, should she make a run for it. The shower she used had no curtain or door. Just a smooth white tub, surrounded by white tile walls, framed by the concrete floor. A white plastic chair, the guard tower in the corner, where the nurse kept watch. The girl undressed, her movements slow like a sick cat. Her eyes silent. The resonance of the water hitting the porcelain floor of the tub filled the room, temporarily drowning her. The song of the water louder than the noise of being stared at. After seventy-two hours, her body again, belonged a little to herself, the fingertips of gazing eyes suspended, at least while she was naked, either without clothes or dreaming.”
(Excerpt from the text, Enough, part two of a collection of short fiction by Kristy Lovich titled So You’re the Leader, to be published in the Fall of 2013, alongside the exhibition of the same title.)
Last night I interviewed a group of prolife pray‐ers (they make sure to distinguish their identity apart from activists). We met on a quiet block in Monrovia, outside of a medical office that offers abortions, where the group hosts a weekly candlelight vigil and prayer circle. Needless to say, this is a space I would never have expected to occupy and the conversation was challenging and insightful in many ways.
At one point, a police officer stopped curbside in his car. Of course, my immediate reaction (having been a part of unpermitted public displays of protest) was the expectation that the officer would ask them to vacate the premises. Contrary to this, he simply asked if there was anything they needed, if they were doing well, and felt safe. The pray‐ers responded to his concern with gratitude and friendliness. They all smiled. The police officer drove away. This is complicated. Full article coming soon.
There is much to unpack from this encounter and its surely a good sign when the work feels just a bit bigger than you and slightly out of reach. Keep an eye out for a blog and online archive documenting this long-term investigation into desire, belonging, social agency… and contradiction.