IF YOU CUT / ME INTO TWO / MY INSIDE / WILL POUR / OUTSIDE/ WON’T YOURS

 

This project investigates the threshold space that extends between an inside and an outside perspective when one’s existence is built through and by multiple and even competing identites and understandings. The installation is comprised of four variations of malfunctioning dividers.

 

 

If You Cut Me Into Two, Mixed media, Installation view, 2018.

Untitled #1, fifty porcelain tiles (each app. 4’’x5’’), red string.   

 

These translucent tiles, each standing in for one letter, strung together function as a code or a reductive encrypting for the installation's title. The number fifty correlates to the list of languages steel-stamped on Untitled#3.

Untitled #2, molding latex, aluminum sheet, chains and hardware (3.5’x7’).

 

In architecture, the facade of a building is referred to as the skin of the building. This skin-like sheet is the mold of a section of a wall from Kroeber Hall, the UC Berkeley Art Practice and Anthropology building where I received my MFA. The outside of the building is doubled as the inside of my mold. 

Untitled #3, vinyl strips, aluminum sheet, chains, and hardware 4'x8'.

 

 

Evoking meat-packing, temperature-controlled doorways, this piece, hung in the center of the space offers a transparent and permeable structure. On the vinyl strips is a steel-stamp imprint of a list of languages, taken from the MILITARY ACCESSIONS VITAL TO NATIONAL INTEREST [MAVNI] recruitment program information sheet. Eligible are individuals who don’t yet have a regulated status in the US but speak (and know the respective culture) one out of a list of fifty languages. If accepted to the program one can receive citizenship within several weeks. All the fifty languages on the list are written in English. In other words, it is a list of exonyms: a name for a people or a language which is not used by the people themselves; the gaze that renders one as an other. I was interested in considering what anxieties and also weaknesses this list points to. Being courted and invited to be part of the us (of the US) because one is part of the them - has intimate knowledge of that culture - creates an entanglement that no longer abides by such distinctions.

Untitled #4, liquid molding latex, fishing thread, fishing hooks. 

 

Projected images on the latex surface: Arabic calligraphy in the Chinese tradition as taught by artist Haji Noor Deen in a workshop at the Center of Middle Eastern Studies, UCB. 

© 2020 by Gabriella Willenz​