Fiveon Oneonone

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A new multi-artist exhibit opens this week­end at SITE Santa Fe. Organized by Laura Stew­ard, SITE’s Phillips Di­rec­tor, and Thaw Cu­ra­to­rial Fel­low Janet Dees, One on One brings to­gether vastly dif­fer­ent sen­si­bil­i­ties to cre­ate large in­stal­la­tions ex­plor­ing the con­cept of per­sonal ob­ses­sion.

Santa Fe-based singer/song­writer and artist Terry Allen presents Ghost Ship Rodez, a multi-room au­dio­vi­sual in­stal­la­tion in­spired by French play­wright, poet, ac­tor, artist, and the­ater di­rec­tor An­tonin Ar­taud’s (1896-1948) jour­ney to Ire­land and har­row­ing trip home. The psy­cho­log­i­cally wounded creative vi­sion­ary (au­thor of, among other pieces, “Van Gogh le sui­cidé de la so­ciété,” a bit­ter trea­tise against the sci­ence of psy­chi­a­try) spent much of his life nav­i­gat­ing a re­volv­ing door of in­sti­tu­tions and de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties, cul­mi­nat­ing in a lonely death, pre­sum­ably of can­cer, at a psy­chi­atric clinic. Allen rein­ter­prets the psy­cho­log­i­cal machi­na­tions of Ar­taud dur­ing his jour­ney, fo­cus­ing on the par­al­lels be­tween the artist’s creative ge­nius and life­long bat­tle with men­tal ill­ness. As William But­ler Yeats wrote in the poem “The Choice,” “The in­tel­lect of man is forced to choose per­fec­tion of the life, or of the work, and if it take the sec­ond, must refuse a heav­enly man­sion, rag­ing in the dark.” Allen ex­plores that pro­found rage and in the process at­tempts to let a lit­tle light in.

Bangladesh-born Amer­i­can artist and art pro­fes­sor Hasan Elahi’s por­trayal of ob­ses­sion stems from a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence that in­volved be­ing de­tained and pro­filed by fed­eral agents at a Detroit air­port in 2002. Elahi, who ex­hib­ited some of his work in Santa Fe dur­ing a 2007 group show at the Col­lege of Santa Fe and has been de­picted fre­quently in the main­stream me­dia as more of a so­cial ag­i­ta­tor than a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary fine artist, presents Tracking Tran­sience: The Or­wellian Project, a com­bi­na­tion of work in dig­i­tal me­dia that ex­plores the im­pact of sur­veil­lance and tech­nol­ogy on a so­ci­ety that is in­creas­ingly fu­eled by the col­lec­tion and anal­y­sis of in­for­ma­tion. For the SITE ex­hi­bi­tion, Elahi as­sem­bles the most com­pre­hen­sive ver­sion to date of his on­go­ing Tracking Tran­sience project; to see his on­line self-sur­veil­lance work, visit track­ing­tran­

Los An­ge­les artist Kaari Up­son presents The Larry Project, a mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tion in which the idea of ob­ses­sion is ap­plied to some­one real but whose life ex­pe­ri­ence is ren­dered through both ac­cu­rate and imag­ined bits of in­for­ma­tion. Like Elahi, Up­son ex­plores iden­tity by col­lect­ing dis­parate sets of data and ar­rang­ing them in a man­ner that makes log­i­cal sense, as though assem­bling the pieces of a jig­saw puz­zle, start­ing at the edges. But Up­son’s work plays on the un­con­trol­lable need of in­di­vid­u­als to ap­ply their imagination to miss­ing pieces of in­for­ma­tion, fill­ing the gaps with fan­tasy and giv­ing in to danger­ous ob­ses­sive im­pulses.

Hus­band-and-wife artists Bradley McCallum and Jac­que­line Tarry ex­am­ine ob­ses­sion through three video works: Topsy-Turvy and Cut, both from 2006, and 2007’s Ex­change. The cou­ple in­fuse their vis­ual nar­ra­tives with threads of so­cial con­scious­ness and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism, fre­quently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tions (and dis­con­nec­tion) be­tween race and equal­ity. From 6 to 7 p.m. on Tues­day, Feb. 9, SITE presents a con­ver­sa­tion with McCallum, Tarry, and Dees.

There is a free pub­lic open­ing re­cep­tion for One on One from 5 to 7 p.m. on Fri­day, Feb. 5. The exhibit — which runs through May 9 — is com­ple­mented by an on­go­ing sched­ule of spe­cial lec­tures, con­ver­sa­tions, and per­for­mances. Visit site­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

Left, Kaari Up­son: The Larry Project, 2007, in­stal­la­tion view, Ham­mer Mu­seum, Los An­ge­les; photo by Joshua White

Bradley McCallum and Jac­que­line Tarry: Topsy-Turvy, 2006, in­stal­la­tion view, The New York His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety; cour­tesy the artists and Caren Golden Fine Arts, New York

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