Images Festival Presents: In an Expression of the Inexpressible–Wanda Nanibush and Ariel Smith
By interweaving audio, video and new media Wanda Nanibush and Ariel Smith have created an exhibition that explores the haptic qualities of memory and subjectivity. They use material and technology to relate experiences of the hidden, unexplored, incommunicable aspects of a life story. This messy and imperfect communication is not concerned with the facts of an experience, but with the body’s field of knowledge in an Expression of Inexpressible points to the ways in which subjectivity and identity are inscribed by the expectations of others and chance, as much as personal experience and choice.
Three new installations by Nanibush will be presented. Arrivals and Departures depicts an ever-turning body projected onto a tub of milk that is being gradually altered by the slow drip of a tube of red paint that hangs from the ceiling. Carrying features a bed of sand taken directly from her home reserve on Ontario’s Christian Island. Above the sand a real-time video image of the reserve is projected. This work collapses the time and space between her two homes, and between the past and present. The final work, Micro-revolt, is based on the memory of being taken from her home and into the care of the state. Three garbage bags represent how much she was allowed to carry with her.
Smith’s bedroom installation, little girl/ugly girl/not bad/just evil girl, marks the audience’s entry into the horrors and land mines of a young girl navigating her way to womanhood. The audience is invited to enter the bedroom and lay on a twin-sized bed with hyper-feminine bedclothes, a canopy and stuffed animals. Inside the room a looped video projection of Smith’s interpretation of monster movies is set to an experimental soundscape. The work is darkly humorous, disturbing, and visceral. Smith uses symbolic representations of archetypical girlhood and the horror genre to examine and subvert the often-terrifying reality of growing up female.