Communication Study is an ongoing piece in which I directly explore our attempts to connect with one another through the nuances of speech and body language. In this particular emanation, I am interested in a pendulum of ideological and demographic extremes. Despite the overarching differences between the two groups, Shaunna and the Optimists, a similar nervous tension results, which I correlate to what Erving Goffman called "the presentation of self;” Since both groups are performing for an audience (imagined or literal) they become acutely aware of the self and how they are managing their presented roles, resulting in a consistent anxiety. For the installation, I set up a two channel display in which the monitors oppose each other to emphasize the polarity between the two groups. My intention is to create a space for the viewer where she/he must physically align with a side, compare the self to the self presented in the video, as well as to the other viewer in the opposing chair. The content of the first video, Shaunna, is from a meeting through Craigslist, in which I was looking for someone with Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder to engage with the camera for 60 minutes. The second video is from the 2007 Optimists' Oratorical Competition, entitled "My Greatest Challenge is...”. As I continue to accrue more footage, I plan to map out a pendulum of mundane communicative extremes and structure them according to various social theories.
The Optimists, 35:50 minutes
Shaunna for an Hour, 29:52 minutes
Communication Study, 2008, 2 channel video, dimensions variable.