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Under Discussion, 2005

Under Discussion, 2005


Live Cinema: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla's Under Discussion

March 3–April 15, 2007

Color video transferred to DVD, sound
6 minutes, 14 seconds
Edition of 6

Jennifer Allora (American, born 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (Cuban, born 1971)

Philadelphia native Jennifer Allora and Cuban-born Guillermo Calzadilla have collaborated since 1997, producing photographs, sculptures, videos, and public projects that challenge the seemingly incontestable power of official norms and values. Spending half of the year in Puerto Rico, the artists have created many projects centering on the island of Vieques, where the U.S. government conducted (non-nuclear) bombing exercises for sixty years until widespread public opposition forced them to stop in 2003.

Under Discussion continues Allora and Calzadilla's engagement with the people of Vieques and the site that is now a wildlife reserve run by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services. The work follows the son of a fisherman, who led a civil disobedience movement in the 1970s, as he circles by boat the abandoned territories whose future seemingly hangs in limbo. The man's vehicle consists of a conference table—like the one employed in the fruitless negotiations over the contested land—turned upside down, with a motor attached. By literally inverting and mobilizing a symbol of bureaucratic immobility, Allora and Calzadilla successfully bridge the remove between the political machinations of the U.S. government and the lived experience of the residents of Vieques. As the artists themselves explain, "Of course it's absurd, but maybe the absurdity of a seafaring table will mobilize discussion, taking the debate in new directions."

Purchased with funds contributed by the members of the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art.


Modern and Contemporary Video Gallery, first floor

Main Building

About Live Cinema

Live Cinema is a series of programs in the Video Gallery of the Museum that explores the vast production of single-channel video and filmwork by a diverse group of local, national, and international artists. In the last decade an ever-increasing number of contemporary artists have appropriated these mediums as an artistic outlet, in a dialogue with the early video and Super 8 practices of the sixties and the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Each program of the Live Cinema series focuses on a specific aspect of this work, in order to both map and analyze this important facet of contemporary art production. Certain Live Cinema programs are accompanied by a brochure where guest writers discuss the works exhibited, and also by public lectures given by the participating artists.

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