Significant Other

 

Significant Other

April 4, 2005 10:00 AM - April 7, 2005

Significant Other will run through April 7 in Gallery 111, on the RPI campus in West Hall. OPENING RECEPTION: 6:30pm April 6, 2005 We live in a time, which allows us to change our identities by correcting our bodies. The ideology behind “correction” comes from the action of the individual’s desire to fit, rebel or change completely their physical body within a contemporary practice. Hybrids and new species are created through new technologies. Although individual, the choice to physically change or alter the body comes from a desire that is not entirely isolated. Such influences come from social norms and cultural traditions imposed or dictated by mass media. Living in such dynamic times, the medical industry, genetic modification and clinical manipulation of the body brings the surreal to life. The four artists proposed for the show are: Boryana Rossa (BG), Tara Matiek (USA), RASSIM (BG), Julia Reodica (USA). They have something in common even though they come from different backgrounds with different experiences. It is their desire to question and challenge gender and cultural stereotypes and norms, which they put forward by using transgressive gestures, opening up a space for new political discourses of the body. In that process the body is a place for intervention ­a territory, canvas, text and a message. The show will draw a connection and create a dialogue between similar artistic practices, which have evolved in distant places. Artists are creating a new vocabulary that goes beyond spoken language and is being enacted through the body. The entire process of becoming, performing or creating the “other,” varies in each presented work. Boryana Rossa performs the urgency of “otherness” by sewing up the lips of her vagina in the performance The Last Valve. This refers to one of the ideas in her ULTRAFUTURO manifesto - overcoming gender (both male or female), together with all consequences that its existence brings to humanity. The Last Valve is the name of an article written by V.I. Lenin about Stolipin’s reform, published in 1905. It refers to his reform as the opening of the last valve to release the tension before the Bolshevik revolution. In Lenin's opinion, the reform postponed the Revolution, but not for a long time. Now, Boryana Rossa closes the valve and increases the tension that leads to “The explosion of The Great Species Revolution”. The performance is also dedicated to the future emergence of a new class of beings (artificial and semi-living) for whom the gender won’t be a foundation for contradictions, because these entities will not be gender specific. The Last Valve is presented in a two-channel video ­ one documents the performance, while the other, based on a special visual system, transforms the electrical potential of the body into video. Having already become a third gender Tara Mateik shows the beauty of his corrected transgendered body in the video installation Kouros. Within the history of the bust as a sculptural object, this work reconfigures the Classical Greek bust of a budding young boy. While Greek Archaic statues concentrate on the expression of natural perfection of the human form, in Tara Mateik's work they appear less natural, similar to a surgically altered chest. The projected images of Kouros emphasize the aesthetic of the surgically altered chest as a point of pleasure rather than disgust. It also questions the cultural stereotypes based on a historic representation of the body. In the installation the body is visually represented as canvas. A screen made of three pieces stitched together with surgical thread is the physical space on which inverted body is projected. The circumcision in Correction 2 RASSIM is a symbolic attempt to join the “other” and overcome the conflicts based on different religious and cultural belongings. By infiltrating the culture of the “other”, RASSIM brings to light the origins of the circumcision as a religious practice. The act of circumcision carries very different meanings in the context of Bulgarian and American societies. According to the Muslim tradition in Bulgaria for example (10% Muslim population), the circumcision ceremony confirms one’s devotion Islam. In the United States, on the other hand, the operation has its roots in a Christian tradition and is currently a common practice that is also believed to have hygienic benefits. The operation is documented by a professional camera and by the artist himself, shown on two parallel screens, which represent the objective and subjective perceptions of the event. In the hymNextTM project by Julia Reodica, the feminine cultural value of the hymen is diffused. The designer hymen sculptures transcend the traditional meanings of purity and chastity of the potential virginal bride. Instead, the mass produced hymen sculptures for both female and male use represent the dissolution of sexual codes and conduct. Meaning, as a parody on marital rituals and the novel sex toy industry, the reproduced hymens that contain the artist’s own vaginal tissue cells challenge the one-time breakage of the maidenhead. Many customs suggest that the hymen is a sacred and irreplaceable object. The hymens for distribution are currently symbolic sculptures due to the government limitations of applying new technologies to the body. Julia’s work is presented as a living laboratory that includes the real-time growing conditions of her soft sculptures: engineered rat muscle tissue into hymenal forms along with packaged “ready-made” hymens on display.
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