Following on the heels of A Smeary Spot (2015), Living Room (2017) is the second episode in Negative Space—a five part cycle of related multi-channel video installations. This episode is focused around exploring notions of the ‘body’ as it is both an exploited and agential resource.
This two-channel video was filmed at 231 Bowery—the building that houses the New Museums’ artist residency program. Shot in a series of found and constructed interiors, the video treats the entire building as both a stage and a metaphorical organism. The work is divided among four sites within the building: living room, bathroom, stairwell and basement. The building exists as a hermetic ecosystem and protagonist in the narrative of Living Room, wherein performers use their bodies to labor and leisure, choreograph and dialogue, recuperate and subsist. 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.
Navigating the metaphorical digestive tract we watch two performers—Ms. Manning and The Pregnant Backpacker—traverse from roof to basement via the stairwells, moving ever increasing loads of waste and debris as they descend the transitional passageway. Three children—Pluto, Eris and Makemake—who shift effortlessly between reality and fantasy are the liminal subjects of the living room interior representing the psyche or imagined spaces of the mind. Each child occupies a glowing and distinctly patterned couch dressed in a matching jumpsuit. In the bath room or kidneys we find Patient Patient and Marat attempting to detox over a slice of cake while discussing the problem with words and attempt to come up with a new name for a ‘party’, ultimately titled ‘lies’. Both suffer from socio-politcal illnesses and Marats body finally succumbs in a bout brought on by a nose bleed. The uterus takes formation in the basement, where dancers move in and out of sync wearing boldly printed t-shirts on which ‘HER’, ‘OR BUST’, ‘AGAIN’ and ‘NO’ are scrawled.