S. Erin Batiste
Christina P. Day
“The tinsmith came to my help and made me a body of tin, fastening my tin arms and legsand head to it, by means of joints, so that I could move around as well as ever.”
In 1900, L. Frank Baum invented the Tin Woodman, a character whose body of flesh is taken apart by his ownenchanted ax, and reassembled in tin, limb by limb. Morbid as it is, the story raises the age-old, metaphysicalquestion: if an object’s parts are replaced entirely by new parts, is it still the same object?
This question emerges centrally for the writers and visual artists in Affective Histories. Using a range of materialsand textual sources, each artist transforms “the original” by disassembling, replacing, and reconstructing. Records, remnants, archive, anachronisms, nostalgia, inheritance: thework exhibited in Affective Histories create haptic relationships to particular slices of time. Presented together, the artworks form an archive of local,communal, and personal histories through the use of found material and borrowed forms not typically considered worth keeping or recording. Using juxtaposition and collage, the artists included in Affective Histories disrupt normative linear time by folding foreign time into the present.
S. ERIN BATISTE uses erasure poetry and inherited forms like advertisements, dictionary entries, letters, games, and other ephemera to interrogate what we consider lineage, history and memory. Through exploratory print displays, Batiste pits each text against its ghost to reveal and confront the violence of white supremacy, misogynoir, Americana, exceptionalism, and capitalism latent in the original works.
CHRISTINA P. DAY stages uncanny sculptural installations that heighten a viewer’s sense of what may seem familiar, but is distorted out of context. Her work engages in ‘match finding’—repeated patterns that link into one another. She uses found material to underscore time’s erosive yet strangely lyrical distortion of objects.
MANDY GUTMANN-GONZALEZ uses 17th-century court records of the Salem Witch Trials as a sounding board to uncover the power and violence residing within the language of the legal system. In their work, poetry and archive wrestle with one another—shattering these legal documents that act as gravestones and spilling the voices caught therein.
CATE RICHARDS creates false anthropological displays of ceremonial rites and implements. Somewhere between jewelry and tool, her anachronistic and ritual objects draw attention to feminized and invisibilized labor (through objects such as distaffs and yokes). These mythological fetish objects question our romantic notions and false memories of history.
JULIA ROONEY plays with notions of “the original” and its reproduction, painting multiple versions of a single work at varied scales, palettes and resolutions. Gesturing towards the action of a phone’s “photo filter” app, and the overwhelming trend of image-sharing in the age of social media, Rooney posits how algorithmic systems shape and duplicate patterns of thinking, making and communicating.
KELSEY TYNIK’s soft/hard sculptures investigate glee and sentimentality realized through colorful-humanized objects that resemble pillows or bodies. Her sculptures invoke fantasy and play without shame or guilt, recalling childhood’s active engagement with the present.
1 Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Oxford University Press, 2010.