Magazine article Artforum International

Sondra Perry: The Kitchen

Magazine article Artforum International

Sondra Perry: The Kitchen

Article excerpt

Sondra Perry

THE KITCHEN

Data, and its attendant devices, ostensibly exist to help us live "better": Eat cleaner, work harder, exercise more. But who has the ability to "be good" in the first place, and at what cost? Saturated in postproduction blue, Sondra Perry's first institutional solo exhibition, which was organized by Lumi Tan and titled "Resident Evil," foregrounded the following paradox: While the law circumscribes the banal, everyday motions of black Americans as evil, law enforcement's fatal policing has itself become banal, commonplace. As Perry's montaged videos and interactive, found object installations revealed, consumer technologies both aid and surveil us, while also setting the limit conditions of the human. In the video netherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 1.0.3 (all works 2016), installed prior to the main gallery, Microsoft's "Restart'V'Fatal exception" screen--the so-called blue screen of death-- dissolves into jpegs of smiling black women, among them Rekia Boyd, Yvette Smith, and Shelly Frey. The images of these women, all casualties of police, fill the screen and then float away into tabs, as though "minimized" by the viewer. Computational failure here elides the lethal malfunctioning of literal "servers" sworn to protect.

Resident Evil, Perry's piece de resistance in the central gallery, includes several parts: a video monitor sitting atop a living-room credenza, and a large-scale projection of a pulsating, salmon-colored membrane that fills an entire wall. A second work, comprising a plastic-covered couch propped up on cinder blocks, faced this tableau. The arrangement was a domestic scene in dialogue with Rodney McMillian's "post-consumer" home furnishings, or Kara Walker's ode to ingenious, insurgent inhabitation in her 2014 exhibition "Ruffneck Constructivists." We were invited to take residence inside virtual skin (the artist's own), an analogue to a mesmerizing techscape both embodied and parasitic.

As the video portion of Resident Evil makes clear, lived experience intertwines with images that administer default, white-supremacist constructions of "evil." Perry shot first-person footage of her quiet, nighttime New Jersey suburb, accompanied by the foreboding sound track from the 1979 film Alien. She then cut in audio of traffic stops; the sound from an interview with Ramsey Orta, who filmed the police killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island; and citizen smartphone video of demonstrations in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, which she sets adjacent to Geraldo Rivera's Fox News broadcast of the same scene. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.