09 April 2014

Transit't: Taciturnly

Now open at LEA10 is Transit't: Taciturnly by Selavy Oh, who had been invited by curator Mimesis Monday (who also contributed to the installation) to investigate silence. Set on a wide flat sim in which the ground barely emerges from the water, the installation's most prominent feature are hundreds of "silent flakes" — large white spheres that slowly fall from sky the to the ground, where they gradually vanish below the earth or sea. It reminded me of that sort of beautiful silence one can experience in watching snow gently fall. You'll find a clearing of sorts in the center of the sim, from which vantage point you can look out to watch the activity encircle you.

But not everyone found that experience pleasurable — Honour McMillan had quite the opposite reaction, saying, "For the first time in my life I started to feel both trapped and completely helpless." And the scene on the eastern edge of the sim is indeed disturbing: a group of figures who seem to be experiencing some moment of panic or horror (image above), and an accompanying text reads: "The silence of the belt when it is not striking the child." This part of the installation is actually a contribution by Mimesis Monday, and the silence here is certainly not one of tranquility.

I don't know which artist suggested the text for the parcel description, but it's taken from Edgar Allan Poe's 1849 poem "For Annie," in which the speaker, now deceased, says he's now free of "lingering illness" (meaning life itself). His lover, Annie, looks on, thinking he's dead, while he continues to profess his love for her.

      The moaning and groaning,
         The sighing and sobbing,
      Are quieted now,
         With that horrible throbbing
      At heart:—ah, that horrible,
         Horrible throbbing!

Taciturnly will remain on display for several weeks and is the second in a three-part series, the first of which was Transit't: Your breath was shed. The third part, to focus on Personality, will be created by Alpha Auer.