Original performance dates February 26 - March 1 2021.
This work was experienced in a singular institutional space and uses that space’s features, such as a screen, projector, windows and radiators, to execute the live elements. Two videos are projected; one is a live feed of the Atlantic Ocean, and the other is a Zoom meeting space. The audience remains indoors while I begin outside. The narrative element starts by asking if my audience “can hear me,” requesting that they come to the windows while I am seemingly on my phone. It becomes apparent as I remove my COVID mask and start eating a banana that I am not actually speaking. I then walk to the rear entrance of the Visual Arts Building and enter. Using Zoom and my mobile phone, I stream pre-recorded and live video that delivers a narrative about the banana trade and dialogues with a distant person. As the work progresses, it is unclear when things are live, and when pre-recorded, or whom I am addressing (the viewer directly or an ambiguous you featured in the narration). Different phrases are repeated in different contexts, functioning to collapse events and juxtapose them with specific dates and years.
This work was initially framed as a performance, though perhaps it can be more accurately described as a video installation with a live component. My act of broadcast, travel and the ocean feed contribute to the work’s “liveliness.” Feeds and streams of video and data, are arguably more quotidian than ever before, especially as remote work continues in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The word you conflates the viewer and the person addressed in the narrative. The banana is an object that I employ as a scale to measure distance and time under capitalist modes of trade and commerce. Additional objects include the projector, screen, windows and radiators. These elements support the room either physically (by keeping it warm/cool, allowing natural light in) or ideologically (tools to disseminate information and support a pedagogical structure). Tangentially, the work also observes how we are already engaged with the habits and conditioning of virtual learning and online space. There are parts of the performance in which the audio says, “Can you hear me?” The participant often responds, “Yes!” There are many ways this piece could “not work;” screen recordings from my laptop show where the video feeds freeze, audio is skipped, and other issues destabilize the information being presented. These moments, where one questions if what happens is supposed to happen, fold into the meaning of the work itself, signaling the fragility of its own container.