I perceive the other and lose myself

On View
April 15th – June 19th, 2015
Opening Reception
April 15th, 2015

I perceive the other and lose myself exhibited at She Works Flexible from April 15th until June 19th. All three artists presented multimedia installations and accompanying performances.

Sofia Cordova is a multimedia performance artist based in San Francisco. For this exhibition she created a series of stunning photographs to accompany her mesmerizing and intimate performance that captivates the audience with the sensual nature of what she is conjuring on stage and the apocalyptic nature of the story told. In this new work, performing from behind a screen mimicking the sail of a ship, Cordova (performing as La Propheta) danced and sang her way through humanity’s destiny 1000 years in the future. Her songs, created in collaboration with artist and partner, Matthew Kirkland, detail a Spanish world where dances are held on cement slabs, brackish waters consume our land and life is lived in a perilous state of not-belonging. Through the washing away of the old and the renegotiating of our species relationship to the planet, we are given the opportunity to start anew not just in how we relate to the earth but to each other.

Houston-based performance artist Autumn Knight, whose poetic and viscerally engaging multimedia work enthrals with honesty and power, created a collaborative multimedia structure to explore the relationship between stand-up comedy and music in Black American artistic and entertainment traditions. Through stand-up performances, lectures, cinema and an interdisciplinary presentation of sound art, Knight took us on a fascinating tour of the Black American economies of survival. Drawing on the rich history of vaudeville acts, the political usages of African-American comedy, music and contemporary pop culture crossovers, Knight worked with two sound designers and DJs – Philadelphia-based Mekeva McNeil and Houston’s own Jason Woods (Flash Gordon Parks) – to create a one of a kind sonic experience.

Islamic Violins was an installation that contrasted grainy mini-video and saturated surround sound with the striking image of suspended violins that were then exploded. The “low-tech” explosion of violins and the survey of the debris created by the onslaught conjured the ugly noisiness of media interfering with the contemplation of beauty.

An homage to the Fluxus movement, which intended to free art from the boundaries of the institutions and the market, Islamic Violins was inspired by Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Turkish poetry’s attempt to address the ideal of the beloved in its most untouched, perfected form. The violin, whose origins lie in Central Asia, stands for the ideal body and spirit in its perfectly symmetrical repetition, bringing about a meditative serenity and sepulchral, timeless beauty.