Entering a piece of video art in the middle is like meeting a friend for the first time, it is almost immediately apparent if it is worth sticking around, what happened before you showed up is going to affect what you see now, and if you open yourself up to it the experience is often something compelling.
The viewer begins this journey in the hallway of Kala Art Institute’s latest off-site exhibition at Berkeley Central Arts Passage viewing the latest work of the collaborative duo Double Zero titled “Cha Cha Cha Changes.” The video is tightly framed, focusing on the head and face of the performer on the right. The camera is positioned over the shoulder of the performer on the left, allowing the viewer a perspective synonymous with the artist initiating the changes.
The premise of the video is succinct; two people interacting by attaching items to each others head and face, changing the way the other looks and sees. The embellishing material act lays bare the artist’s investigation of what one brings to and expect from a friendship. During a brief email exchange, the artists described the parameters for the performance; the items they used were limited to things each artist had on hand which resulted in a single pile that was used indiscriminately by both artists. A one minute rotation was established, and there was no set time limit to complete the performance. It would end when they couldn’t see anymore. All of the actions and reactions in the video were unscripted, performed in the moment.
The act of adorning and obscuring another person’s face generates an empathy with both performers. The decisions being made by one register on the face of the other whose reactions build a certain tension as they, and you, wait for what will happen next. This tension is often broken when the artist being worked on breaks into an appreciative smile as some new item is inventively used on them. It is quite obvious they trust each other and are tremendously engaged with what the other is doing.
The collaborative duo Double Zero (Hannah Ireland and Annie Voight) document a performance with great simplicity, humor and insight. Sticking around for the video loop has been rewarded with a compelling investigation of friendship and its circuitous byways: hope, expectation, support, encouragement and mutual vulnerability for them and for us.
This exhibition is on view until December 6, 2013.
For more information visit here.
Contributed by Matthew Marchand