MirrorWorlds, video, 2006-2009
Triple Screen Installation
“Child simultaneously projects three films on different walls, all soundtracks running. To the left and right are black-and-white montages of Hollywood’s bygone genres, and ahead (at center stage) is her newest film, a full-color riff on Bollywood. Here, Child’s fragmentation techniques break into the human realm, and we emerge transformed….. Child’s cutting techniques reconfigure sensory/cinematic perception altogether.
….When the screen splits during a subtitled scene in To and No Fro we are catapulted into a theater of spectacle and sound. Scenes with cameras and other tools of the cinema remind us that Child is constructing our view, but with gleeful humor (the Mirror World film loop “ends” with the main woman character tossing her head back in a long laugh). Child stops short of noise and confusion: a slight back beat (a cymbal; a tabla) steadies first one soundrack, then another; a Strauss waltz builds in intensity and we slip into familiar territory...at least until Child rocks our world once again by
turning the footage of the dancers on a slant, or sideways, and even almost (but never predictably) upside-down, before veering off into another quasi-plot. Breathless yet?
Hints of narrative are suggested (a glance, a movement, a chord, a subtitle or syllable), intensified (through arrhythmic repetition, intercutting, juxtaposition), and finally thrown overboard (or at least in every conceivable direction). Hindi overlaps with Spanish, English, many styles of music, and sound effects, and the aesthetic of interruption is itself interrupted with steady long shots of landscape and gesture.” [Subtitles from other Bollywood films] occasionally appear, like less didactic, more evocative versions of Jenny Holzer’s maxims (“as if to myself”; Every person’s story starts with some other person”; “All humans are unreal”; “Think of me as the self-willed beauty...that is what the world thinks I am”).
Child, a self-declared “maximalist,” creates a poetic condensation of contemporary society within the space of one small room. Upon taking in this array of expressions, we perceive that a set of concerns builds up, with artful indirectness, in all of Child’s films: women’s power; the manipulation of a spectator’s sensibility through the medium of film; large-scale political implications of small moments. These subjects, and the collage technique itself, are not new, but Child’s results are. The Mirror World exhibition can be seen as a millennial updating not only of [Laura] Mulvey’s theories, but also of …..Bauhaus Photomontages……Child rejects this approach [minimalism] and revels in experimentalism, intensity, and delight.…..Child has created a “carnival” holiday, which Mikhail Bakhtin famously described as a government- sanctioned period of chaotic excess, whose jubilation provides a necessary release from the seething dreariness of the rest of the year? I think Child is saying, even more radically, that we have yet to recognize the sensory festival that life already is.” Karen Schiff in Big Red & Shiny. BIG RED AND SHINY, Issue 42. 5/06
Premiered at Radcliffe Agassiz House March 2006. Shown in differing installations at
Wake Forest University’s Haynes Gallery 2009; AVA, New Hampshire Gallery 2009;
“Accademia Monumentale di Santo Spirito in Sassia 2010; and BIM (Bienal de la Imagen en Movimiento in Buenos Aires 2012.