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Fascia

Fascia, a commissioned work for Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York 2006_____________________________________________________________________________________________ An artist statement by Pia Lindman __________________________________________________________________________________________________ "[This façade is] a spacemaker; it is an instrument between the inside and the outside." Vito Acconci __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Let’s assume there is only one space and no division. Instead of dividing space the wall is simply an embodiment in space. As it occupies and moves in space it makes space emerge. This embodiment can be a membrane, a human body, or architecture. They become social acts and gestures in space. Thus there are formations and negotiations of that space in various social configurations. If I think of the façade of Storefront for Art and Architecture, the pivoting doors make gestures that imply social relationships. I can ask a literal question: What do these openings want to do in life? What do they want us to do to them? We can imagine the façade as a continuously evolving series of social events in space. I can imagine gestures and social relationships in the pivoting, protruding, retracting, and intruding doors of the façade. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ "There is a face wherever something reaches the level of exposition and tries to grasp its own being exposed, wherever a being that appears sinks in that appearance and has to find a way out of it." Giorgio Agamben ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ I believe the experience of being a socially functional human could be described as existing between the core of a tree and its bark. Our consciousness is neither fully inside our ‘core’, i.e., our biological body, nor is it completely outside of the confines of the same body. We communicate with ourselves from the vantage point of looking at our exterior representation as much as we feel our internal body. When we feel sick, we look at our tormented face in a mirror, rather than at the bacterial growth inside our stomach. Perhaps Giorgio Agamben is speaking about face as if it was a bark that had melted together with the core. In Fascia, I physically exhaust my body and face in filming sessions that last up to 60 minutes. Parts of my face stay fixed while others may move. The physical exhaustion and the necessity on focusing on staying fixed despite experiences of pain, work towards my face reaching this condition of a bark melting with its core: a membrane that has turned porous, a façade that is no longer holding up and as it – not crumbles, but evaporates - voids a division of space. Ironically, as the façade evaporates, expression seems to be as meaningless as its opposite. It does not matter what grimace I am making: __________________________________________________________________________________________________ "As soon as the face realizes that communicability is all that it is and hence that it has nothing to express – thus withdrawing silently behind itself, inside its own mute identity – it turns into a grimace, which is what one calls character." Giorgio Agamben ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ I built a chair for the specific purpose of filming these facial configurations. These configurations are not facial expressions, although they may resemble some. Indeed I have been inspired by some typical facial expressions, such as a smile or raised eyebrows to express surprise, but also facial caricatures such as an overly droopy under lip or enlarged and protruding ears. I have also been inspired by architectural metaphors, such as the eyes as the windows to the soul, or the mouth as a metaphor for a door. I have had various metal devices constructed for me. These attach to the chair and serve to manipulate my face in order to make it assume a distinct ‘expression’, frozen for the duration of the 60-minute long filming. Due to the duration the face inevitably cannot sustain a sense of authenticity and meaning of its expression. For that, the face would have to assume it for merely a fleeting moment. Instead, these faces turn to constructed poses, or more precisely, grimaces. After filming one face, I make the video recording transparent. I then cut it into one-minute sections and layer these sections on top of each other. In this way, one sees a one-minute video showing 60 minutes of video recording simultaneously. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ TEN FACES OF FASCIA I have composed ten faces for Fascia. The first one serves as a sort of introduction to the series and I filmed it as follows: I sit in the chair with three metal arms extending from the headrest to fix my head. However, the features of my face, such as my eyes, mouth, and nose are free to move. I read out loud a poem by Apollinaire of the nine gates to his lover’s body. The layering of the video recording has the visual effect of my facial features becoming blurred and multiplied, while the edges of my head remain fixed and focused. 1_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For filming the face following the introduction, I removed the metal arms fixing my head and instead fixed my face by wrapping my mouth around a metal dowel that extended from a metal arm rising from the seat. My head behaved like a pivoting object with the mouth as the center point. The effect of layering the video makes my head and face seem blurred except for the dowel and my lips, which are in clear focus. 2_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For filming the second face following the introduction, I placed a triangular tube in my mouth. It was so close to my head, that it nailed it to the headrest. My lips and teeth wrapped around the three edges of the tube, while my tongue stuck out towards the camera through the triangulated opening. I soon realized it is impossible to swallow. Instead, my saliva found an exit through the triangulated passage of the tube. 3_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the third face I had frames made for my eyes from square steel tube. I wanted to suspend the frames around my eye sockets, so I pulled and rested my brows on edges shaped to fit my facial bone structure. I dipped these edges in a rubbery plastic material that covered the smooth hard steel and offered a grip to the skin. While filming the face, I strived to keep my eyes fixed on one single point. My face and head were pivoting around the axis of my eyes. 4_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the fourth face, I used magnet buttons to nail my under lip. I unfolded and extended the lip as far down and out as I could, finally fixing it to a steel plate beneath my chin. I expected this face to be particularly difficult, because the exposed under lip would dry out during the 60 minutes I needed to film. However, I was able to breath through my nose, and keep saliva running down the lip. 5_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the fifth face, I used rubberized hooks to horizontally expand my nostrils. The pulling of the nostrils had the effect of raising my upper lip and made me look like a rodent. 6_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the sixth face, I used two metal rods of different lengths: one to push up my left eyebrow, and the other to push up the right corner of my mouth. I think of a pirate, when I see this face. Surprisingly, this funny face caused some trouble. I had difficulty keeping my saliva in my mouth, as it wanted to escape through the slit between my lips forced open by the rod. The rod pushing my eyebrow kept brushing against my eyelashes. I tried not to blink too much. 7_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the seventh face, I had metal supports made for my ears to rest on. These supports pushed the ears outwards, perpendicular to the head. As I realized that during a 60-minute filming session, the ears might very well fall off their supports, I fixed them at the top and bottom with magnets. My face was free to move, except for the ears, and therefore I was able to even smile. 8_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the eighth face I bolted two rubberized metal blocks to the steel frame fixing my head. Like sliding doors pushing in, these blocks pushed my cheeks towards the front of my face. This gesture reminds me of someone grabbing your face between their fingers, in order to pull your lips forward to kiss you or to intimidate you. 9_________________________________________________________________________________________________ For the ninth face, I closed my lips over a rectangular rubberized metal sheet. My teeth pushed against the sheet, so that it kept pushing out of my mouth, while my lips kept the sheet inside. The corners of the sheet pushed the flesh of my cheeks from the inside, forcing my lower face to assume a rectangular shape.

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December 11, 2009 03:26
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