Trisha Baga “Orlando” at Greene Naftali, New York
Known for her immersive 3D video installations that variously incorporate handcrafted objects with found materials, Baga engages individual perception in a technological economy characterized by accelerated attention spans. Often layering subjects, mediums, and themes through and against one another, Baga’s multimedia installations push perceptual experience to the foreground, staging a dialogue between objects in real and digitized space.
For this exhibition, Baga debuts “Orlando,” an exhibition that takes place in the far future where peacocks play the dominant species, and whose title references both the city in Florida and the novel by Virginia Woolf. In this temporal landscape, Florida has flooded following a great thaw, with Orlando being one of the last cities to go. The exhibition opens with a text disclaiming possible printing imperfections of a scanned reproduction of Half Mile Down, a volume by early 20th century naturalist and scientist William Beebe that documents deep-sea exploration. Unlike the original, Baga has altered two key words, changing each instance of “book” to “man,” and “it” to “her.” In Baga’s subtle revision, the human body and identity are linked to cultural artifact.
A 3-D video projection entitled Peacock Museum The Department of Education focuses in on peacocks as they eat seeds comprising portraits of Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell. In the same room, assorted ceramics are arranged on top of gray painted pedestals and spot lit, recalling strategies common to museological display. A faux documentary in the corner describes the extinction of Florida, suggesting that these objects—various parts of the human body, power tools, and effects of technology, amongst other things—are archaeological artifacts from the distant past.
MS Orlando expands on this narrative, further elaborating on the extinction of Florida and its aftermath. Gaming chairs outfitted with speakers emit diagetic and non-diagetic sound from various sources as a stream of footage—a synchronized dance in a mall, tourists in Times Square, multiple open windows on a computer monitor, peacocks advancing towards the camera, underwater activity, and Baga herself, dragging paint across the screen—layers one through the other, creating multiple transitioning narratives that conflate geography, time, and space. Also on view are five seed portraits, each one depicting a member of Baga’s immediate family, all at the age of 30 and in drag.
until 3 October 2015
Trisha Baga “Orlando” installation views at Greene Naftali, New York, 2015