© 2019 by Gabriella Willenz​

IMAGINARY CIRCUMSTANCES

Imaginary Circumstances, single channal video, 18:13 min, 2019

This installation which consists of two sculptural elements (a wall/tent and a stack of pillows) and a video explores the tension between the home and the homeland. It examines how covert and overt forces incubate ideologies in citizens who are, even unknowingly, or while opposing, complicit with the structures of power that are laid out by the nation-state. The actors are enacting a family, involved in seemingly mundane scenes, but their dialogue is replaced with direct quotations from United States’ more canonical texts, such as political speeches, Hollywood movies, folklore, and others. The uncanniness that emerges underscores the ways people reinforce hegemony and nation-state ideologies in the domestic space – one that is idealized as nurturing. These scenes take place on the stage of a theater, which emphasizes the performative and mediated qualities of the family structure itself. The scenes are intercut with footage from the auditions I held for this project. The actors were requested to audition with a monologue by Iphigenia from the Greek Tragedy Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides in which she announces she is willing to be sacrificed to satisfy the gods and enable her country, Greece, to engage in war against Troy. The sculptural elements of the installation bring together forms from the military, home, and children’s fort-making. All the materials used in the installation were purchased from a company in LA that makes tents and equipment for the US military - some are new materials and some salvaged, thus holding the residue of deployment. The work suggests that the foundations of the nation-state are implanted at home, eventually rendering the military and its violance as indispensable, valorized, and normalized.

Installation view, BAMPFA Museum, Berkeley. Vinyl, thrid, canvas, net, rope, D-rings, wood, 2019