Be Your Guest, 2017
two-channel audio and colour video projections
LOUISE BENNETT AND ERIKA SCOTT
Side Ways Our Time Travel
22 FEBRUARY - 02 MARCH 2017
Frank Moran Gallery QUT
SIDEWAYS OUR TIME TRAVEL
New works by Erika Scott and Louise Bennett
There's a soft circularity floating around this show. It even sounds harsh suggesting that it is somewhat of a circle, more accurately it’s a sort of fog or breath. A fog or breath that forges its own path, a severely bifurcating one, going up, down, left, right, back and around; sort of like the movement of sewing or embroidering, where one movement joins the thread to the last one while setting everything up for the next one. In that sense, this show agrees with Elizabeth Grosz's assertion that "[Art] is where the future is affectively and perceptually anticipated".
For Erika, this future is unnamed and unspoken, it's still looking for the right words to inhabit. She joins together the cut-out titles of fantasy and romance novels with the plastic leaves of artificial plants to create a complex statement on domesticity and interiority, but also one about a mass produced reality, filled with mass produced ideas, mass produced desire, escapism and entertainment. How much are our words our own? How much do we rely on well-established narratives to describe and conjure our own experiences? How much of our own interiority, of our own lives is already simulated? Beyond the plastic plants and the ideas of tropical scape that permeate into our overworked urban settings, how many cliches must we utilize to get to the real meaning behind things and thoughts?
In Louise's case, she works within an infinite, tender loop of love-letters to herself, from her many presents, to her many pasts, futures and what-ifs. She anticipates by re-framing constants in her life, like beach horizons and windows, and approaching them as portals where her experiences become a string vibrating and threading through all the possible incarnations. This particular work places the viewer both at an intimate distance from her body —very close to her hair, flying in the wind in front of the horizon, a tiny length from her eyes—, and also on a more projected space of intimacy. The windows of her domestic environment in Lima —the empty areas that allow the outside world in, while also providing scape for an overflowing self—, are present in this windowless, neutral, white cube breaking its vanishing spell on the outside, every-day context. Domesticity moves back in, with all its uneventful, subtle, ever-changing splendor.
Both Erika and Louise, circle around a certain simulated quality of reality, their works are stand-ins for something else, for intimacy, interiority or domesticity, but also perhaps for something real-ish where the redundancy of the cliche would have ordinarily sufficed. They speculate on the different shapes that personal space can take and what each of us make of it. What are the effects that our emotions have in our immediate material world, and how much of a home can we make for ourselves? They portray the idea of a home as more of a psychological space, one of constant re-negotiating with oneself where the continuous reorganizing of objects is a projection of this, the equivalent of a cat kneading and softening an area before laying on it.
Coming back to Elizabeth Grosz, she says that "[Art] is […] above all the transformation of the materials from the past into resources for the future, the sensations not available now but to be unleashed in the future on a people now ready to perceive and be affected by them." And so out of the remnants of real experience, Louise and Erika re-imagine possible futures, portraying a home as a fluid time-traveling psychological cocktail of old, new, here and there, remembrances, presences and fantasies. While Erika does this by collapsing her experience into absurdly combined, almost impossible but real objects; Louise collapses hers into sculptural iterations of video and self-reflection, full of ambiguousness and seduction.
The people mentioned by Grosz, as those "ready to perceive" the resources for the future are in this case, the artists themselves, circling back from their futures to carry on carrying on. The show temporarily completes this tender loop of time-travelness by hosting them at their University, where they first met years ago as students.
— Gaby Cepeda, 2017.