Isolated sound projection — sound installation speech synthesizer, world-wide conflict related death toll database recited in reverse chronology 2014-1989, 198:00 minutes Gratitude to Uppsala Conflict Data Program
between here and there \ Human toll \ 2012 and 2016
A pioneer in early digital art, feldman-kiss’ multisensory installations continue to explore the human body - including their own - as a site of confrontation, vulnerability and resistance. between here and there began as a labour of research that the artist undertook following their 2011 return from Sudan, where they were embedded as a UN military observer in the generations-old east-African conflict as a part of the Canadian Forces Artists Program. In travelling to this site of active warfare, the artist sought to shock herself out of complacency through dislocation from first-world privilege, however temporary. Born and raised in Ottawa, feldman-kiss aspired to a deeper, more visceral empathic connection with the experiences of their familial ancestors, with diasporic Afro-Euro-Sephardi-Jamaican heritage (connected to conquest, colonization and the trans-Atlantic slave trade) on their maternal side, and Lutheran-German-Ashkenazi-Polish heritage (in flight from anti-Semitic and anti-miscegenation policies) on their paternal side. The artist’s pivotal experience embedded in an African conflict zone awakened a preoccupation with world order and relative human value, provoking further durational work about how to make sense of one’s implication in colonial history.
Audio read-out by a monotone computerized voice sets the tone for this disquieting installation which represents a twenty-five-year statistical database of death-toll records in conflict ridden regions across the world (https://ucdp.uu.se/downloads/index.html#battlerelated). Evolving from their efforts to understand the cacophonous narratives issued by the global news industry, feldman-kiss employs the uncanny quality of a sound projection device to create a contained listening space, one that demands an attentive form of embodied listening. The relentless drone of human tolls suspends us in an uncanny space between horror and banality. This evocative work can be read as a meditation on public memorialization, drawing our attention to the connection between archive and trauma. It asks audiences to consider questions like: What are the regulatory norms through which different bodies are materialized? How are ethical relations bound by the consumption of global violence? How does anonymity and otherness impact the notion that some lives can be more easily disregarded if they are lived at a distance?
The King’s two Bodies \ Scales of Justice \ 2016
I meditated on finitude, the foibles of imagination, demystification of truth and the scaling of justice in our globalizing world. I captured rich and exotic audio, video and photographic source material as I swept, sorted and sat in balance floating on my pan facing down death. By day 49 day it had become clear I had flown very close to the flame…In my journey’s dissociation, I encountered an inner cold colder than any Canadian winter as my body wept from every pore under the oppressions of 55˚C.
The opening quote is taken from feldman-kiss’ diaristic entries during what the artist describes as a durational performance over months in residence living and working in West Bengal, India in 2016 with a supplier’s vast inventory of human osteological specimens. Once destined to the international market of medical teaching aids, the artist’s immersion into these trade sources enabled their experiential understanding of the precarious cultural and socio-economic circumstances from which commercial specimens in the Canadian inventory may have been harvested (or originated). feldman-kiss’ gesture troubles the conﬂicting legal frameworks that govern these little-known global markets established with colonization.
The projected video of The King's Two Bodies \ Scales of Justice shows the artist balancing their body on a commercial pan and chain beam scale staged within an ambiguous pseudo-domestic setting. For the majority of the performance before the camera, they sit in a meditative posture in the face of their weight in shrouded human bone bundles. In this confrontation with taboo, feldman-kiss’ artistic action positions their own body/psyche within the artwork as a site of political resistance and complicates the aesthetics and interpretations of Western conceptualizations of self-representation.
Pamela Edmonds, Curator