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