Copyright Kurtis Lesick 2019
In Grottos | Nelle Grotte
In Grottos (Nelle Grotte) deconstructs the relationships we take for granted between knowledge, identity, perception and materiality.

In Fellini’s Roma (1972) a group of subway construction workers and a film crew unwittingly expose a long-buried Roman villa. The discoverers find themselves literally face to face with elaborate frescos of Romans long since dead. Unseen for 2000 years the frescos immediately decompose before the eyes of their last witnesses.  In Plato’s Republic, we are unknowingly imprisoned in a cave. We have come to know the world by observing its shadows on our wall, naming this shadow this and that shadow that and stringing together the story of their interactions. We are, at once, both inside and outside the cave: the cave is a custodian of knowledge that destroys itself as fast as we can apprehend it; the cave is a container for our perceived knowing of the world from which we are always separated.  

Developed in residency at the SabinArti Associazione Culturale in Casaprota, Italy, In Grottos is a mixed-media installation that lays bare our assumptions of an "objective reality" that can only be accessed through the mediation of the senses, language, and memory. The audience finds themselves in a dark foreign space initially only inhabited by the ghosts or shadows of things. As their eyes and other senses adjust to the space they discover they are in a cave constructed entirely with the material objects of the images that float before them. Both the audience and the images become contained within the materiality of the structure.

 

In Grottos activates the entire range of senses from sight and sound to smell and proprioception to locate the audience in an entirely genuine, but equally entirely fabricated experience. Each audience member, by implication of their presence, is forced to re-author their experience through the problematic filters of perception, language, and memory. The boundaries of "objects versus things" and "reality versus perception" move in and out of clarity and obfuscation.

Special thanks to Luc Bouchard, Susanna Emili, Renato VivaldiMarlena Vera, Emily Burnham, SabinArti Associazione Culturale for their production assistance and support.

_____

Consider the Book | Considerate il libro

Video Installation on table

Consider the Book is likewise concerned with the question of materiality. The piece consists of a poem which, true to its title, considers the object of the book firstly from the perspective of its various physical properties and forms, and then, more profoundly, in terms of an object that connects experience across time. The poem is read, in this instance having been translated into Italian, and matched with a video of an antique table being cleaned and polished. The footage is straight forward and matter of fact. There is a visual concentration on touch, texture, and tactility, all modes of perception that through each physical act ground us all in place and space while both reaffirming and challenging the truth of time. 

 

1/4

Consider the Book

 

Most often rectangular in shape

The book is also found

In square

Round

Or irregular forms.

 

Media and materials range  

Paper or Parchment

Textiles

Wood

Bound between two covers

 

Bindings either simple or adorned

Covers deeply etched

Pages

Dense

Inked with pigmentation

 

Words and pictures or their potential

Fall across the page

Frozen

Thoughts

Bestowed by distant hands

 

The book connects us with other times  

Not only through words

Inscribed

Dark

For our consumption

 

The object itself ruptures time and space

It sits before us

Silent

Still

Taken for granted

 

But through the book we are not alone

This object ties us

Steadfast

Taut

To the lives of others

 

This first fast reciprocal action

This communal moment

The book

Us

Sharing the same space

 

This very instant provokes all time

The life of the book

Future

Past

Inhales its long breath

 

Consider this book

As it is perceived

Through eye

Ear

Underneath fingertips

 

All those who have encountered this book

Burst into being

Entwined

Joined

Unified across time

 

The eyes that first imagined its form

Hands moulding its shape

Fingers

Flip

The crispness of the page

 

We are all bound by this encounter

Real against our touch

Present

Past

Fingers become entwined