Video installation work
Angel Of Death
How Lovely You Are
Perhaps its just me. I’m not sure.
Who fucking cares. We are all spewing our moments out on to the world.
Crying to be heard. Screaming to be seen.
I’m no different.
And while we are all busy fighting for attention the world is keeping our souls.
Slowing locking our hearts.
A built environment.
Just enough hope to keep the machine running.
Follow your heart.
But your heart will be controlled by the construct, by the walls we have built for it.
The walls we pretend are yours. The walls that we pretend keep you safe.
There is no freedom, there is no safety. It is our machine.
Just our industrial cogs.
Cogs spinning and dripping with blood, dripping with blood and oil.
Huger games. Our reality.
While we were watching the movie.
Art imitating life.
Or is it life imitating art?
While we were all screaming for attention, while we were all fighting for individuality.
While we all lied about independence…
We are all just a product of our life and time. Post modernism.
You can’t break through. But we are taught we can.
God. God will save you. Look to god. Follow him. Click that button.
He will make it all ok.
Except if you are not hetero, white and cis; except if you don’t play his game like a good girl.
If you fall outside of this box you all die in despair.It is just the way it is.
It is of course what you were created for. The others.
This keeps the fight alive you see. Divide and conquer.
The Others. Another construct. This keeps their wars going. It is all they need. Those grey men in grey suits. Except even the white lady in the white pant suit is an evil war monger. Fuck them all. Except the others.
We think our voices are heard because now we all have a platform to speak. But its just that there are so many. So much noise. So much screaming. No one can be seen through all that noise. A construct. An illusion of voices with freedom. Algorithms that let you see only the things you want to see, only the thing you would want to buy. Consume. Consume.
Baby, we are in chains.
Chains masquerading as freedom of social media speech.
Chains masquerading as credit cards to buy you that thing! Consume.
Keep consuming, that is your job. That is your worth and your freedom.
Work and consume, work and consume. You see, my dear, this keeps their game ticking along.
I am just adding my sprinkles to all the noise. Whatever the fuck for?
We just need to pay our bills. Feed our kids. Will somebody please think of the fucking children!?
Follow me. Follow me, follow me!!! Please just click ‘like’, oh but there is also a heart now, choose that one, choose me. Please. I am dying. I can’t breathe. It is all we are. If we can’t get enough then we have no freedom, then we are trapped… That’s what they tell us, the ones with the most, they have the loudest voices, they are the most valuable and they are, the. Most. Free.
Please, we want to be like them, we need to be like them. The ones that get to yell from their platforms. Grey men in grey suits and white women in white pantsuits.
Pairing back for budget requirements. Those funds are needed for other portfolios, for the grey men in grey suites and the white ladies in pantsuits to keep playing, to keep rolling their dice.
Let them dance. Let them post their selfies. Let them seek their likes. It gives them hope, imagine if they all saw, if they all felt?
Fill your little houses with nonsense, consumable goods.
With things that break so they need to be replaced, make sure you keep working, keep working, keep being a part of the inertia of our machine. You must remember you need stuff. You need it desperately. Stuff and likes. You can’t breathe without it.
Fill your little dolly houses with stuff. Stuff and likes. Screens and spaces.
White Death Black Life. Another adaptation of the same story.
Angel of death can you keep their souls? Can you take them? Are our hearts ever safe from their wars and hate? From the drips? From the spinning cogs and scrolling screens?
With your prickly feathers and rustling silks.
Distractions. Keep them all distracted till the end. Busy with bill paying and mortgage commitments. Keep them distracted with empty pursuits and freedom equalling likes.
While the game continues, while the spinning cogs spin;
dear Angel of Death, please keep them from seeing, keep them from feeling. Keep them numb and unconscious. It seems to be what they want, perhaps it is the only way to survive.
We are all just trying to survive. Dear Angel of Death. Are you the darkest? I don’t think you are. See this world? See all that unfolds, I think you are light. How lovely you are.
Take her, hold her. Hold and repeat. Hold and repeat.
Black Life White Death.
Ice cold and heavy, a key to the flow, crisp, pull and draw down… Internal now exposed, skin, grip and peel away, paper thin. Black life escapes… Viscose, velvet and beautiful… Hold, lids clasped tightly, eyes open, draw a breath… Raven pupils pierce your facade. Vital organs void, in their place blooming black petals and asphyxiating tendrils. A vector, consuming flesh. Strangling a passage for breath. Black life. Lips drip, sweet sticky tar. Gaze met. Do you dare? Oh black life. Swallow the remaining soul. Dark vapors rise, take a step, a restless wandering print. Black life. Pain and strife. A journey littered with broken glass, present and past. A beginning and an end. Tethered to it’s depth by mortality. Oh Black Life.
A cascade of rustling white silk. Sound hollow and peaceful. Life picked up and taken by the force of the wind; death. Hands slip in the flow, can’t grab hold. Fall. Delicate soul white feathers pierce the flesh behind. Milk white seeps from the wound. Feathers increase their assault, delicious soft cloud white fibers unfurl. Open structure and then flow. Unfolded. Pristine white, crisp white death. Wings. Unfurl and and fly. Bride white lace encases the story, leading to a path full of freedom and glory. A snowflake land, cold, eyes sparkle for the finite resolution. Oh white death.
Artwork concept, artwork direction and collection of words- Aj
Doll house room design and construction – Aj
Costume design and construction – Aj
Photography and post production/editing – Aj
Video installation concept, production and editing – Aj
Video installation soundtrack- Maker of the sound magic production – Producer Joy & Sparkes
Black life model- Jazz McLaughlin
White death model- Alison Bennett
Make up artist – Anita Rutter
Lighting tech and photography assistant – Brent Leideritz
Online exhibition construction – Brent Leideritz
Brand, logo and masthead design – Brent Leideritz
The poem Black Life White Death was written sometime ago; it is this collection of my words that the series was built on.
The poem talks of the struggle that can sometimes be this life and that it is only in death we can rest and find peace.
I wanted the spaces to feel like a grand home, one white and one black, illustrating the contrast between the two parts of this story. The furniture pieces and cornice were gifted to me or purchased from an amazing doll house furniture store, and the remaining components were crafted from recycled materials. Creating miniature scenes to shoot within enabled me to control how the spaces looked and felt.
I wanted each side to echo the words and to both feel like a nightmare and dreamy space; a space crumbling away, leaving traces of life and pain.
In the inverse of popular notion; the ‘Life’ side is dark and is intended to express a degree of suffering. The bird cage for me is a representation of the things in life that make me feel trapped, I use them in almost everything, the birdcage is a favourite motif of mine. The spilled drink and captured animals added to illustrate a sense of struggle and capture. The costume created for the ‘life’ side designed to feel dark to fit within the space and for the strapping elements on the dress to echo the words in the poem that talk of tendrils and being trapped.
The white side, death, I had hoped would feel lighter, but with tinges of darkness because memories can not be wiped away, but full of things I love. Tea cups and peacock feathers, tea pots and carousel horses. The carousel horse was a toy of mine as a child, for me it expresses nostalgia and it is ever so pretty. The doll here is representational of an angel of death. Her dress is feathery and textured, again I tried to match this to her words, there are wings on her chest and ruffled texture all over her skirt.
The final piece that brings it all together is the video instllation- a new space I am experimenting with. I wanted to tie each component together in a way that is beautifully abrasive; a constant, beautiful, abrasive loop of beauty and suffering.
The soundtrack was created by producer Joy & Sparkes. She was shown the first edit of the clip, the still images and given the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘abrasive’- and from just those triggers she created ‘Angel of death (Please see me reprise) ‘as the sounds for this installation.
This work is not intended to be contained within a screen but projected into a space and onto a large flat surface; light and sound that is immersive, that can be walked through and felt.
The story is of death meeting life, of taking her life in meeting and then of life much lighter crossing over to death and then of course the whole cycle starting over…
Black Life : White Death