Untitled (Legend), is a video diptych about the continuous movement of objects in the museum through processes of art production and curation. It highlights the mostly invisible labor that goes in to every day acts of displacement and draws attention to the narrative potential and limitations offered by close attention to traces of human activity found in the built environment. Shot on the 3rd floor Whisper Room, artist in residence Nikita Gale uses the bounded territory of the room to isolate this labor and to suggest a metonymic relationship between the activities taking place in that room and the museum itself, which functions as a closed system that objects circulate through but do not enter or leave.
One channel of video features the perspective of a disembodied eye steadily panning first clockwise then counter clockwise around an imaginary vertical access at the center of the room. It registers changes to the arrangement of a series of things and the room’s furniture objectively. As with panning shots used in narrative film, this stream of images invites viewers to consider subtle shifts in the relationships between things as they appear and disappear from the frame of view. It also focuses attention on the normative experience of encountering visual environments, where the objects that fill them act as weak traces of human presence and activity. The second channel of video features point of view footage from the perspective of the artist as she moves about the room displacing and re-placing things and furniture. This camera eye bounces and lurches from place to place in rhythm with the body obsessively carrying and arranging objects. The activity of displacement and re-placement appears arbitrary and at times humorously nonsensical. Though the objects featured in the video- a tinkling wobble toy, a book, a guitar, and a set of mannequin legs- have now been displaced to other locations in the museum, the video resides in the Whisper Room in the kind of digital picture frame used for home display of personal photos. It functions as record of the act of its creation and a memento of the ephemeral activities of the artist.
Video installation view: