The Perils of Obedience
From May 25 – June 19, 2016, PARTICIPANT INC is proud to present THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE, the next iteration of a multi-year, multi-venue project conceived by Itziar Barrio. Inspired by social psychologist Stanley Milgram's controversial 1961 experiments on obedience, PERILS confronts established rules and constructed situations. An analysis of seduction of power, the work cultivates conditions for unscripted consequences to probe codes and limits of film, performance, sculpture, and installation.
Beginning in Bilbao in 2010 as THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE (-1), then consequently staged as Casting and Rehearsal — THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE (Abrons Arts Center, NYC, 2013 and 2014) and Casting TPO (Espacio ODEÓN, Bogota, Colombia, 2015), the project so far has been carried out in the guise of a film set within the structure of a theater. Now, after casting and rehearsing in a black box, the project occupies a new container, its “final scene,” cited in a gallery space. Following three videotaped “open rehearsals” at PARTICIPANT INC on May 25, 28 and 29, the scripted environment of the set will become the site for an exhibition of multiple sculptural elements that reveal underlying structures of display — sculptures as bodies, hooks, pedestals, and ubiquitous manufactured objects.
The pairing of these objects and lingering film mechanisms reveal a lexicon and grammar comprising the field of operations of this time-based project. An instigation of sculptural forms derived from mass-produced objects, particularly the iconic JEFF IKEA folding chair from which the trapezoidal shapes in the exhibition are derived, expands upon the conditions given by objects. The combined endeavors constitute research, performative and sculptural, into factors of individual agency and decision-making.
Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite, with dramaturge by Anne Erbe, THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE casts performers Prema Cruz, Kelly Haran, Miriam A. Hyman and Tanisha Thompson within parameters both fictional and non-fictional as audiences witness a performance and the making of a film. Designating the public as voyeurs of the creative process, the project analyzes its form in the process of constructing it. devised texts: actors perform autobiographical narratives, scripts from the iconic films Basic Instinct and A Street Car Named Desire, excerpts from the Accelerate Manifesto, and a narrative about New York City Draft Riots of 1863.
Enacting these scripts, manifestos, and narratives, actors assert their subjectivity and desire within existing power dynamics of the group. This speaking to power reestablishes group dynamics as characters assume roles connected to human authority — a leader, an anti-leader, a soldier, etc. Throughout the process, text navigates through multiple platforms and textures, mining post-structural explications of performativity and bodies in labor. The constructed situations — film production (as) performance and the exhibition format itself — suggest the extent of human action and find agents of participation in all.
Itziar Barrio's work has been presented internationally at: MACBA, Barcelona; Museum of Contemporary Art of Belgrade, Serbia; Abrons Arts Center, New York City; tranzit, Romania; (ENPAP) European Network of Public Art Producers; Espacio ODEON; Galeria Adhoc, Vigo, Spain; ARTIUM Museum, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art (HVCCA), Peekskill, NY; Festival of Ideas for the New City at New Museum, NYC; Havana Biennial 2009, Cuba; Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC; acb Gallery, Budapest, Hungary; Rincón Projects, Bogota, Colombia; 404 Festival of Post-Electronic Art 2008, Trieste, Italy; PiST, Istanbul, Turkey; Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland; The Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin; LOOP, Barcelona; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain; and Galerie Thomas Henry Ross, Montreal. Barrio has received awards including the Basque Government First Prize Ertibil; Brooklyn Art Council, Spanish Ministry of Culture, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYC, and New York Foundation for the Arts Individual Artist Grant. Her residency awards include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP).
Through the generosity of artists, PARTICIPANT INC co-produces limited edition artworks designed to support specific projects. On the occasion of Itziar Barrio, THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE, we are offering TOUCH, 2016, silkscreen on latex and concrete, 36 x 18 inches, Edition of 8 + 2 AP.
Itziar Barrio, THE PERILS OF OBEDIENCE is supported, in part, by Programme for the Internationalisation ofSpanish Culture (PICE) and Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).
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