there is no time without heat, 2020-21

there is no time without heat, 2020-21, is a new project that evolved during the Covid lockdown, working with a low resolution thermal camera. This technology is used at a sophisticated level by the military and at a more pedestrian level by plumbers and electricians. there is no time without heat exists in a lineage with the early videos of Bruce Nauman recording himself pacing his studio, with the living sculptures of Charles Ray and with the performance work of Valie Export. Each of the videos shows me in relation to a pedestal of a different height. These videos depict the fluid body up against a geometric physical reality; much in keeping with my overall engagement with embodiment. This installation of three videos is a selection from a larger group of existing and ongoing videos. The title, there is no time without heat, was inspired by the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli’s explanation of the nature of time, basically saying that most physical phenomena can be run just as easily forward as backward, with the exception of entropy.

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Leda and the Swan, 2019

Leda and the Swan, 2019 is a five screen 2k video projection. The premise is straightforward. I, the artist, and a male swan are put into a room together to see what happens. The inspiration for the work is Greek mythology; the seduction (or rape) of Leda by Zeus, who has adopted the form of a swan to deceive Leda, who is married. The seduction/rape of Leda by Zeus has played out in mosaics discovered in Pompei, in Greek and Roman statuary, in European painting and in 20th century photography. My video is a continuation of my exploration of classical themes and mythology, specifically in relation to questions of embodiment. “Fullness, emobodiedness, the sensation of being”, as J.M. Coetzee put it in The Lives of Animals.

The video is part of a contemporary lineage, starting with Joseph Beuys’s famous 1974 performance, I Like America and America Likes Me, in which he placed himself in a gallery with a coyote for eight hours, three days in a row. My video stands as a counterpoint, in that the swan or predator does not act out a seduction or aggression (as in the Greek myth). The swan is entirely self-absorbed, narcissistically preening itself and ignoring my presence. The lineage for the video also includes Mircea Cantor’s 2005 work Deeparture, in which he placed a deer in a gallery space with a wolf. In all three videos there is the presumption of a predator/prey relationship, each played out with different outcomes, but none where violence ensues. My work puts forward a female (and aging body) for contemplation, but also creates an ambiguous frame in which it is less clear which actor is meant as the predator and which as the prey.

A three screen version of Leda and the Swan had its premiere screening at Festival Instants Vidéo Numériques et Poétiques, now in its 33rd year in Marseille, France. It opened in November, 2020.

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3D modeling for these video spaces by Philip Mulliken.