Minus Four

Victoria Keddie: Unidentified Persons Object

by Rachel Vera Steinberg

Unidentified Persons Object
A video performance by Victoria Keddie
Featuring a live movement collaboration by Mariangela Lopez

Livestream performance:
September 17, 2020

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Unidentified Persons Object is a commissioned live-broadcast video-performance by artist Victoria Keddie featuring a live movement collaboration with Mariangela Lopez. The live-mixed performance was transmitted through the website kino.earth as a one time event on September 17, 2020 at 8PM EST and will be archived on itlaunches.today as a video document.

In relation to the new adjustments to remote interactions with one another, Keddie posits a set of gestures as an alternative to the five senses. Taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch become touch, signify, suffer, play, and prepare through performed interactions with a set of associated objects. A pen stands in for a past sense of touch, activated through memory and recollection. The now-commonplace medical mask is a surrogate for signify, allowing for a renewed engagement with surrounding environments. The exercise mat becomes suffering, picking up on the superficiality of mindfulness and self-care practices in the face of a public health emergency, and the inability of these practices to truly make up for a lack of intimacy. A stone embodies a timeless symbol of play. Coin currency--a physical form of capitalist exchange—enacts prepare through its fraught potential for action and mobility.

The performer, Mariangela Lopez, stands in as the living body to activate each of the sense-objects. She performs remotely, unearthing each gestural object and moving in relationship to her own mirrored image that is reflected back to her through live-mixed transmissions. Keddie splices forensic images and animations of skeletal remains into the live transmissions, merging Lopez’s live, secluded body with the material remnants of a simulated post-life figure. Crucially, Unidentified Persons Object presents no new object forms, but accounts for the semiotic attachments that the objects already carry. The performance/video underscores the temporal relationships that are increasingly prevalent in live, remote interactions, consciously re-mixing associations between intuitive senses, meaning, and movement.