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In Grottos | Nelle Grotte (2016)



"He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves."


        -Plato, Republic

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.

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

Consider the Book | Considerate il libro


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"Consider the Book" is a companion piece to "In Grottos" 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. 

Consider the Book


Most often rectangular in shape

The book is also found

In square


Or irregular forms.


Media and materials range  

Paper or Parchment



Bound between two covers


Bindings either simple or adorned

Covers deeply etched



Inked with pigmentation


Words and pictures or their potential

Fall across the page



Bestowed by distant hands


The book connects us with other times  

Not only through words



For our consumption


The object itself ruptures time and space

It sits before us



Taken for granted


But through the book we are not alone

This object ties us



To the lives of others


This first fast reciprocal action

This communal moment

The book


Sharing the same space


This very instant provokes all time

The life of the book



Inhales its long breath


Consider this book

As it is perceived

Through eye


Underneath fingertips


All those who have encountered this book

Burst into being



Unified across time


The eyes that first imagined its form

Hands moulding its shape



The crispness of the page


We are all bound by this encounter

Real against our touch



Fingers become entwined

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