This timely Zoe Leonard retrospective comes on the heels of the recent widespread and enthusiastic re-circulation of her 1992 manifesto I want a president, the culmination of which was its turn as a mural on the High Line in New York from October 2016 to March 2017. That piece is present here alongside photographs taken between 1986 and 2016; the fictional photo archive Leonard created for Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 film The Watermelon Woman; and sculptural works including her iconic Strange Fruit (1992-1997) and a stacked book sculpture from this year.
This new work arose from several things coming together. My wife and I always have morning coffee together in bed where we chat about everything. During this time, especially in the spring we would become mesmerized by the slowly changing sunlight shining in through the waving trees and through the window, onto our bedroom wall.
We are educated to think that everything can be repaired, and when we face something that really challenges us, we freak out; we suffer. I think what I'm trying to do by putting the repair in the center of my practice is to challenge this sort of blindness we have towards injury or illness, the idea that everything needs to be repaired. No, I don't think so, and I think it's more of a psychic matter today to learn to live with our own injuries.
NXIETIN is the latest iteration of a performance collaboration between Hannah Black, Ebba Fransén Waldhör, and Soraya Lutangu (Bonaventure), loosely centered around the idea of a superhero figure called Anxietina. NXIETIN is an attempt to build a mythic infrastructure around the pervasive anxiety of the everyday: her superpower is an anxiety that is both her own and an undifferentiated collective energy.
I’m interested in how virtual worlds distort what architectural theorists call genius loci— the spirit of a place. Of course, the totality of a specific location—its unique character and indivisible nature—is essentially unknowable for an individual observer. However, as a three-dimensional computer model, the virtual world of 2065 is a singular entity in time and space. Even though the virtual world is a collage composed of multiple places, the player can travel freely between zones. For the exhibition, I wanted to deconstruct the world, enabling the audience to experience their own version through fragments. 2065 is conceived as a physical portal into a sprawling virtual world, where the audience enters into the game itself.