In “Shabby but Thriving,” commissioned by the New Museum, Burns premieres a new two-channel video staged within an installation that explores the subjugation and agency of various bodies.
The video, titled Living Room (2017–ongoing), is the installation’s central work; it was filmed in the New Museum’s 231 Bowery building that houses the artist residency program. Moving from its basement through the stairwells (partially renovated and often bearing relics of previous eras) and into a series of found and constructed interiors, the video treats the entire building as both a stage and a metaphorical body. The building exists as a hermetic ecosystem and protagonist in the narrative of Living Room, as performers use their bodies to labor and leisure, choreograph and dialogue, bathe and subsist within this vital architectural interior. Furniture and props likewise act as both benign objects and political subjects.
The video features a unique soundtrack by Geo Wyeth and choreography by NIC Kay.