Technology, identity, and power are at play in Sondra Perry’s exhibition “Resident Evil.” The show features several new works that collectively comprise an uncanny domestic scene set in a spacious chamber of Chroma-key blue. Digitally manipulated footage of the artist’s skin, projected on an enormous screen 36 feet wide and 12 feet tall, serves as a grotesque backdrop for the exhibition’s namesake video. In front of the screen are a plastic-wrapped couch and a monitor displaying footage of the artist’s home in a style reminiscent of both amateur home videos and first-person shooter games. Resident Evil also includes an audiovisual collage about incidents of police brutality as reported by victims, protesters, and Fox News, thus offering a multidimensional narrative perspective.
To watch two videos mounted on exercise equipment, viewers must put themselves in physically uncomfortable positions. Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation requires sitting on an exercise bike with your face close to a triptych of screens, where the artist’s avatar explains in a computerized monotone how the belief in a fundamentally just world is detrimental to the health of people oppressed by anti-black racism. Wet and Wavy Looks—Typhon coming on alludes to a slave ship. The viewer struggles on a rowing machine clogged with hair gel while watching an animation of skin rippling like ocean waves.
A Roomba robotic vacuum drags zines around the gallery. They contain writing by Hito Steyrel, Hannah Black, and other artists and critics on surveillance, circulation, and illusions of stability—topics now more relevant than ever. —Celine Katzman
Pictured: Sondra Perry: Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation, 2016, 9 minute video and bicycle workstation. Courtesy The Kitchen, New York. Photo Jason Mandella.