Bodies of Water:
Body as a Prison / Prison as a Body
Flatiron Project Space
133/141 W 21 Street
New York, NY 10011
Image: Courtesy of the artist.
BFA Visual and Critical Studies and the Flatiron Project space present “Bodies of Water: Body as a Prison / Prison as a Body” a site-specific installation by VCS alumnus Elektra KB (BFA VCS 2012 / MFA Hunter College, City University of New York 2016). The exhibition will be open December 7th through January 6th , with a reception on Thursday, December 7th, 6:00 to 8:00PM. Elektra KB, with her visually arresting artworks, videos and installations, addresses issues of identity, power, social and political constructs. Allegorical narratives presented by the artist often involve the parallel universe of the Theocratic Republic of Gaia and the revolutionary Cathara insurgency. The artist has prepared the following statement about her installation:
Bodies of Water: Body as a Prison/Prison as a Body explores themes of gender migration, life inside the prison industrial complex and the communication barriers created by such infrastructures with the outside so-called “free” world. Water has been a means of transportation often used by people seeking freedom. Water symbolizes freedom, mutability and changeability. However when water is trapped, regulated and contained it loses those abilities. The video explores the journey of the artist trying to communicate with political prisoner Marius Mason, the first male trans person to receive state approval for gender confirmation treatment in 2016 under federal custody while held in a women’s prison in Texas. Mason, a member of the Earth Liberation Front charged with arson of genetically modified organisms in a Monsanto research facility. When the prisoner is finally allowed to communicate with the artist, the call is heavily monitored by the state. What the prisoner can discuss is limited; the artist asks: “What do you think about water?”
The video employs an utopian/dystopian platform. The first channel has a juxtaposition of documentary and fantasy, A letter found by the Catharas –the rebels from the Theocratic Republic of Gaia– is read and the narrative follows the struggle to communicate and reveals found footage from the prisoner’s case. News casters and a Cathara narrate the story. A performative recreation of Christmas Carols sang by prisoners takes place. Google searches that explore surveillance and identity are shown, all following the story of a broken plate, which sparked the project. The second channel is dominated by an artificially rendered ocean where the water jugs travel and the Catharas are submerged in interacting with the events taking place.
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