In following up to my previous post on the recent exhibitions at Dumbo’s Smack Mellon, Shannon Plumb: The Window Series closed this past Sunday. I first saw her video/performance work in 2005 at a contemporary exhibit featuring an impressive list of young international artists, held at the Castello di Rivoli, Italy. I recall watching the silent, black and white film, as Shannon performed a character not unlike Charlie Chaplin. She wiggled her nose, pursed her lips and was mesmerizing. I couldn’t look away. She has the gift of her own embodiment. Next I saw a piece at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. There she performed a track star from the 1970’s, donning short shorts, a sweat band and blond handlebar moustache.
The Window Series is based on the work of photographer Bruce Davidson and once again Shannon performs various imaginary characters who may or may not exist. The sequence of films caters to the voyeuristic desire we all have (especially in urban environments) of getting a peak into someone’s private space. The 5-channel videos are projected simultaneously and give the artist the opportunity to engage in role-play, while sneaking in and out of the viewers reach via the “window” in each screen.
Again, like David Henderson’s exhibit, The Window Series was also excellently installed in a dark room towards the back of the gallery. The only issue I noticed was that the loop for The Angry Blogger (still shown above) appeared to be the most brief and at times left one blank screen while the others were filled with movement. As the blogger, she once again wears a moustache and gets to exercise, exaggerated facial expressiveness.
In the 4th projection, Shannon dresses in a burqa and proceeds to try and “catch a breeze” by lifting the garment and allowing air to seep in underneath. This was the first political piece that I’ve seen of hers. An American flag is reflected in the foreground of the projected window (dizzying!) and the actions were both absurd and filled with humanity. While I doubt it would be a common occurrence to see a woman lifting the skirt of her religious attire, the action reminds us of the person and the physical presence/discomfort that results from heat. This character is the only one who doesn’t appear to be in an interior. The point of view is distorted, and she could be peering through the window at us, whereas all the other videos are in his/her interior within what is presumably urban space.
Shannon Plumb is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work is fantastic, The Window Series is an ongoing project, so keep an eye out for what’s next!