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Mirage was made after a trip to India (an underlying influence) and was the last of the black and white series of video performances. It was first designed specifically for the screening room of Anthology Film Archives, New York, where I had spent hundreds of hours viewing films. There was no live video, only pre-recorded tape and 16mm film. The film of drawing and erasing chalk on the blackboard was a series of images from past and present pieces—a heart that looked like a bug, signs for a storm, a rainbow and a mirror reflection copied from Leonardo, all to be read as a kind of sentence with no fixed meaning. There was also a five-minute documentary loop of volcanoes erupting, and a film shot off monitor of a television turned on its side with the vertical roll bar switching from right to left. My action of repeatedly stepping through a small wooden hoop was broken by the vertical bar. I repeated the action live next to the projection. Rhythms were syncopated. The metal cones came from the paper cones of Funnel. In Mirage, they were used to funnel sound in various ways, to look through and simply as sculptural objects to move, to rearrange. It is because of the cones that I chose to use the film of different volcanoes erupting. Mirage is partly about transformations of energy, about ritual and game playing to facilitate movement in time and space. The video tapes Good Night, Good Morning, The Car Tape, and May Windows were part of Mirage. These works are shown on three monitors turned on their sides as in the original performance.
In the latest version of Mirage I am showing all the different takes from a film of drawing on a chalkboard. The original edited projected version in the performance was about five minutes. This uncut version consists of thirty minutes of unedited footage of one drawing after another. Images, diagrams and numbers are drawn and erased, drawn and erased. Also included are my movements with the vertical roll bar. For a parallel projection I have edited some newly discovered footage from the seventies when Mirage was made, to make a 30-minute loop that is a combination of old performances, more chalk drawings and footage shot off the television at that time. There are also fragments in which tin cones and paper cones are used to sing through indoors, and in various other ways outdoors, in night street actions. Side by side the two loops are each altered by the other. This is a new version of Mirage.
The exhibition is organized by Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art.
The Performance Exhibition Series is made possible by MoMA's Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.