The Stains of Eyes
The Stains of Eyes – a series of time-based artworks produced in the spring of 2020
Time. Like architectural ruins in a distant place, time moves across and then it stands still. It falls apart. It is put back together again. It is remade in a pursuit of a burning question. Deliberate acts of destruction are healed. A collective gaze impresses on the surface of our history, and of our present.
We imagine through the stains of our eyes.
Several months ago, six graduate student artists pursued an idea. Excavating their personal archives and ongoing preoccupations, they put pen to paper. They outlined a territory they would embark upon.
A pandemic occurs.
Time. It interrupts. Contemporary ruins is now our currency. Time shifts and blows away. Ideas are relevant or they are not. New questions are asked, but answers are hard to find. What does a collective gaze now say about our history and present. How do we now imagine into a future?
We imagine through the stains of our eyes.
Sama Alshaibi, Professor
Marrow Mourning is meant to disturb and inform its audience about the painful rending of bodily connections to land, community, ceremony, and each other that Indigenous womxn must constantly struggle against settler colonial oppression to maintain. Illustrated through interactions of a mother and daughter literally carving space for themselves within the land and found footage from the ongoing Wet’suwet’en land crisis, Marrow Mourning is a painful meditation on Indigneous resilience against continued occupation of Native land.
Mimbirkakh (to kneel with one’s hands in the air) is understood as an act of dedicated devotion. In an ode to the diaspora, I subvert a traditional act of discipline from my homeland into an enduring,committed, and laborious act of love. The physical body becomes a metaphor for the internalized experiences of yearning for fulfillment and belonging. Mimbirkakh explores the way that land and sky become sites of refuge, grounding and connecting the body in habitual moments of meditation.
Bella Maria Varela
Inspired by my family’s competitive sporting spirit, Triathlon tracks the rhythms and terrains of American immigration and confronts the absurd constructs of US patriotism and exceptionalism.
this is the only thing we’ve got
These conjoined video pieces address love relationships and the internalized values that mediate them. They are intended to be viewed in the same moment or space, inviting consideration of how different types of relationships intersect within and reciprocally inform our individual experiences.The long-take format requires investment and faith on the part of the viewer that gestures towards the commitment and conviction required to build love. The performances engage repetition, in its capacity to build both consistency and redundancy – to communicate patterning whether healthy or destructive, and the balance between fulfillment and/or refusal of desires. They ask about stillness, waiting, breathing, and allowing. They tell about grasping, yearning, making, and learning. They explore what we learned love was as children, and what we can allow it to be now if we try very hard to grow.
Quarantine is a personal piece that reflects the inner feelings of the artist during the novel COVID-19 shutdown. It is meant to evoke the feelings of anxiety, entrapment, and frustration, while showing how two generations deal with the same isolation. Playing on the concept of monotony and the contrast between useful and uselessness, the two subjects engage in one individual task throughout the entire film. Through the piece, the artist hopes to make the viewer contemplate their own experience and feelings during this period of time.
“I got it from you and built a home with it”
Turning away from nostalgia and into the self is a healthy and necessary rite of passage to becoming.
Souvenirs of the family both define and limit our perceptions of being. This normalized marriage between distance and intimacy disorients our psychological landscapes, while the subconscious embraces the disoriented and gives us access to otherwise unknowable truths. When objects that serve as reminders transform into navigational tools, a new place where walls become linings is born.