Solo Exhibition funded through Kickstarter.
May 19 - May 20, 2017
WELMONT Venues | Savannah, GA | 1930 Montgomery St.
"The idea for this installation started with a violin I was gifted. The violin was originally repaired by my Great-Grandpa and played by my Grandpa. When I received it, the violin had been re-broken. I couldn't help but to pair this object with the nostalgic feeling for my Grandpa; an instrument in my hands, but yet, I still cannot hear the way it plays."
CHET juxtaposes a silent 16mm film and a live performing cellist to symbolize the fading memory of Justin's Grandpa, Chester "Chet" Zielke. This allegorical film installation focuses on portraying the universal instinct of trying to adapt a logical reason to the emotions we feel. In this case, CHET shows the habitual loop an individual can begin when misinterpreting emotions for logic.
"CHET is a personal project that I believe many people can relate to. I never met my Grandpa. Well, at least, the only memories I personally recall are from him passing away. However, the person I remember is constructed from the beautiful memory my family has given me. I see him as a role model, but at the same time, he reminds me of my mortality. The installation at WELMONT aims to portray this contrasting feeling of who my Grandpa is to me."
This enigmatic installation guides the viewer through a difficult emotion by using symbolism. There are three main symbols: a digital animation converted to a silent 16mm film, sawdust, and a musical instrument.
The film is a digital animation video converted into a silent 16mm film. Its contents uncomfortably display Justin's Grandpa in a Muybridge locomotion study. Rather than studying a movement, the film idly watches the process of a man attempting to play a violin. The figure breaks the fourth wall and stares out into the viewer's space as if to acknowledge he is being watched. The camera subtly zooms and crops closer which builds an anxious tempo. Prior to him playing, the film cuts, repeats, and as the film ends, the reel is re-looped. Throughout the exhibition, the projectionist forms a habit of repeating the loop.
On the floor underneath the projector's screen, sawdust accumulates and spreads throughout the exhibition space.
The silent film is juxtaposed with a live performing cellist, Mitzi Okou, playing on the other side of a dividing wall. The music meets the anxiety of the film with a slow-paced, mysterious, and wistful beauty. The routine is also looping, but contrasts with the mechanical nature of the film projector by its freedom from musical measurement.
The sawdust lays around Okou acting as a pathway for viewers and creating a subtly distorted atmosphere.
"The film represents an anxious awareness of our future passing and a relentless need to understand mortality; while the music being played on the other side of the wall is calm, nostalgic, and reminds us that people before us have already experienced what is to come."