Video stills from On the Rocks, In the Land (2013); ©Danielle Adair
Emerging Artist Series #8: Danielle Adair
September 19 – December 6, 2013
Lenzner Family Art Gallery
The documentary-performance-video installation, On the Rocks, In the Land, analyzes the role of the “tourist-observer,” within contemporary “conflict zones,” and questions how a “tourist” perceives and experiences sites of historic and contemporary political significance. The project incorporates experiences of and around the peace lines of Belfast, the Berlin Wall, the stonewalls of New England, the US-Mexican border in Ciudad Juárez, the separation barrier in the West Bank and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The exhibition explores the notion of “play” as a persistent and ethical form of resistance in relation to the physicality of a “wall” as defined by these specific locations. Meanwhile, in investigating the intersection of place, politics and play in these sites, the project resists the assumption and further enforcement of a dominant narrative.
On the Rocks, In the Land is in keeping with Adair’s practice of assuming a particular role or responsibility during long-term projects to better examine the institutions and narratives by which we live. In an earlier work, FIRST ASSIGNMENT, Adair took on the role of a “war journalist”, as she embedded as “media” with US servicewomen and followed a unit in training, deployment in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and upon their return home. This project involved a number of discrete works, including her artist field guide, From JBAD, Lessons Learned (Les Figues Press), and culminated in a long-form video piece. Adair engages with contemporary issues by actively blurring the distinction between documentary and performance praxis. Through the intimacy and particularity of such experience, On the Rocks, In the Land reveals unfamiliar forms of resistance and protest.