Pasatiempo - - MIXED MEDIA -

MemWars, Terry Allen’s new piece at SITE Santa Fe, is a video and sound in­stal­la­tion about mem­ory and mo­tion. “There are nine sec­tions of sto­ries, and each one has a song con­nected to it, and each story is grounded his­tor­i­cally or metaphor­i­cally in some lore,” said Allen, the Santa Fe-based alt-coun­try mu­si­cian and artist who works with his wife, artist and ac­tress Jo Har­vey Allen. “There are sto­ries that take place in the World War II and Viet­nam eras and they all kind of lead to how a song comes about. In video pro­jec­tions, Jo Har­vey’s go­ing to be mov­ing along one wall telling part of the story, and I’ll be mov­ing on an­other wall telling an­other part, and when the story is com­pleted, there will be sta­tion­ary video of me play­ing the song along with im­ages that re­late to the story.

“With the two mov­ing walls, it’s re­ally kind of about how mem­ory is al­ways in mo­tion and about the idea that when mem­ory’s not in mo­tion, it be­comes a trance, al­most.”

One of the sto­ries, ti­tled “Road Run­ner,” deals with a New Mex­i­can friend who was killed in Viet­nam in 1967. The last con­ver­sa­tion Allen had with him was the night his friend called from Juárez to tell him he just had road­run­ners tat­tooed on both of his calves. “About five years af­ter his death, think­ing about an old girl­friend of his, I wrote a song called ‘ Blue Asian Reds’ that dealt with my feel­ings about him be­ing killed — and that was the first time it re­ally dawned on me how aw­ful the war was.”

The Allen in­stal­la­tion is part of the spring 2016 it­er­a­tion of SITE Santa Fe’s 20 Years/20 Shows pro­gram. Launched in March 2015 to cel­e­brate the mu­seum’s two-decade an­niver­sary, 20/20 is a se­ries of re-en­coun­ters with artists who have ex­hib­ited at SITE in years past. In 2010, Allen’s draw­ings and video sculp­tures in­spired by poet/ drama­tist An­tonin Ar­taud were in­cluded in the show One on One. Works by Luis Cam­nitzer and Wangechi Mutu ac­com­pany Memwars at SITE. Cam­nitzer par­tic­i­pated in the 2007 group ex­hi­bi­tion The Dis­ap­peared/Los De­sa­pare­ci­dos. Now he presents two ex­hibits that ex­am­ine is­sues of lo­ca­tion, dis­ori­en­ta­tion, and power: The Shift of the Cen­ter of the Earth (1975) and Car­di­nal Points (2015). In 2006, Mutu had a work in SITE Santa Fe’s sixth in­ter­na­tional bi­en­nial, Still Points of the Turn­ing World. Now she col­lab­o­rates with artist Edgar Arce­neaux on a draw­ing in­stal­la­tion on the gallery walls. Mutu also presents a 2013 an­i­mated short about mod­ern-day con­sump­tion, The End of Eat­ing Ev­ery­thing. A free pub­lic open­ing for this fourth and fi­nal in­stall­ment of 20 Years/20 Shows is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day, March 19. The ex­hi­bi­tion at SITE (1606 Paseo de Per­alta, 505-989-1199) con­tin­ues through May 22. — Paul Wei­de­man

Terry Allen: video stills from MemWars, 2016, cour­tesy the artist and David Aubrey/Lightningwood Pic­tures

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