Exploring the Nowannago install shot. Photo by Christoper Wormald 2016
Duke Choi's review is in response to attending the opening of Exploring the Nowannago: Kentifrican: Modes of Resistance at The Grand Central Art Center in downtown Santa Ana on August 6, 2016. KACH STUDIO asked him to share his thoughts about the installation and opening.
The opening night of a performance installation by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and Tyler Matthew Oyer is being ritualized, tested, and observed. Inside the space, a neck-high, thick, black chalk paint line encircles the vertical walls. The line breaks between the projection frame of a video showing tensioned rope horizontally. (Hinkle says the rope is always displayed horizontally.)
Is it a struggle to see that rope?
I cannot help but think that the rope tries to make a linear bridge between the black chalk paint lines.
Is that break imposed in order to reflect on what the artists want you to write with white chalk provided in the four corners?
Why are the instructions placed in the four corners?
Is it the widest field of angle as a witness?
As I am familiar with Hinkle’s older work, she confronts you with her own words, creating words of your own in your psyche. This is a test and challenge as she guides you to rethink a life that has been made a victim of a hate crime, police brutality, and [….] In some names written on the wall we can vaguely identify with “Lil One” or google "Thomas Kelly". There are conversations being brought up by reading these names and their violent endings. In the middle of the space facing the projection are gapped half circles made with dirt and this rope.
The spectators' modes of resistance are challenged when carefully walking around this dirt border as the sensitivity of staining, marking, or leaving traces aren’t guided. Without the given role of the rope, there is not an indicator of what to do with it. The spectators break loose and choose to risk by picking up the rope. As a couple begins to engage tug-of-war, the artist (Hinkle) tries to say, “I don’t think you should do that…” Yet the artist's authority of that object is put into question as she lets go allowing the interaction to perform. The domination allowing desire and provocation is enabled by the confidence and trust in the rope not snapping.
Duke Choi playing Tug of War. Duke is pictured on the left.
While the audience may not know the violent context of that rope, others played jump rope triggering the sounds of whipping. I want to speculate for the next morning of normal operation hours of the space. Will the audience disobey or will the *art guards allow them to interact and discover either direct or indirect translations of the perverse violent manifestation within a rope.
Duke Choi and Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle during the opening
*KACH Studio-Notes on text: There are no art guards at The Grand Central Art Center. Visitors are not prohibited from engaging or not engaging with the rope.