Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon
A hum is quickly followed by a pop, and the pulse of the downbeat carries an inescapable rhythm. The lightness of the sound is sometimes followed by a dissonant shock—the rush of an F-14’s sonic boom—you can’t see it but you feel it happen, and your body shifts accordingly. You round a corner to escape the roar and are met with the quick thump, thump, thump of a hand beating a chest. A dancer nearby moves in constant agitation, pushing against this natural pulse in a willful exercise of refusal. People peek in at you through translucent curtains made of silicate—this is a social celebration, and we take strange pleasure being caught somewhere between material and imaginary space. We don’t know if we too are dancers as we break off into intimate duets and private solos in spite of ourselves. We are submissive. We show off. We stand quietly, perplexed. There are formal limitations—we move in relationship to the sound, to the objects in the space, to one another—but these movements never resolve themselves into rules or principles as they might in a game or an exercise. Instead, the echoes resonate inside and outside the body, subjective and objective at the same moment.
Throughout October 2016, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon’s Inside You Is Me morphed and recomposed inside The Lab like a living organism. The walls—composed of various sculptural acoustic materials that affect the audience’s sonic and visual perspective—were arranged into different configurations each time The Lab was open to the public. Each week new artists were invited to play this system, creating sound and movements within the acoustic architecture.1 Gordon added their contributions to the library of her constantly evolving installation, while also leaving enough space to allow the audience’s whispers, cell phone taps, and footsteps to manifest as essential components of the overall composition. There was no formal opening event, no stage, and no ideal place to view the work: it challenged the easy familiarity of audience/performer relationships. After all, sound—weightless, seemingly immaterial—can turn corners, bounce off surfaces, and penetrate us; sonic space is public space, running through us and into others, accumulating resonances, rhythms, and refusals in an endless dance with our subjectivity.
Outside the entryway of Inside You Is Me stood a walnut box that was gradually filled with sound and video files, material samples, notes, drawings, technical specifications, and an artist questionnaire—everything that would be needed to restage the project following its run at The Lab. Gordon has been working with sound and movement for over a decade, exploring the intersections between the worlds of performance and visual art. Rarely do her investigations result in something that can be sold to a collector or acquired by a major museum. So, continuing in the tradition of the Fluxus boxes containing materials for actions and the “dance capsules” that preserve Merce Cunningham’s choreographic work, this box originated as a question: How do we think beyond objects, to collect and archive nontraditional art practices? The result was produced in an edition of five and now exists in museum and private collections—a living archive that can be activated at any moment, inviting us to share in collective experiences of listening.
— Dena Beard
- Nava Dunkelman recorded percussive beats; FAY restaged parts of her most recent album, DIS; Celia Hollander contributed trancelike choral arrangements; Jonathan Mandabach created a rhythmic, high-frequency composition that twisted space; and Sam Hertz mapped these sounds to the speakers throughout the space. Dancers Jose Abad, Maryanna Lachman, Rashun Mitchel, Mara Poliak, Silas Riener, Mia Simonovic, Davia Spain, and Oscar Tidd each improvised movements responding to this sonic and visual environment.
Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Inside You Is Me, 2016/2017; installed at SFMOMA as part of Soundtracks, 2017; © Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon; video: courtesy Adobe.
This 360⁰ audio/video presentation is best experienced using a mobile device and headphones.