Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Primal Speech by Liz Magic Laser at Jupiter Artland


Liz Magic Laser
Primal Speech, an immersive mixed media installation produced by Brooklyn, NY based artist Liz Magic Laser is currently being exhibited in the Tin Roof Gallery at Jupiter Artland.

Before entering the gallery, visitors are asked to remove their shoes. The gallery has been transformed into "Laser’s futuristic version of a primal scream room with soft grey padded walls and therapeutic devices such as punching pillows and a screaming vase. The artist has created sculptural pillows that reflect regional political emblems and for the installation at Jupiter Artland the collection includes symbols for the Scottish National Party’s thistle, Scottish Labour Party’s rose and the Scottish Liberal Democrat’s bird of liberty."

Laser’s therapeutic video and environment guide viewers to express and exorcise their sociopolitical and personal frustrations. For the video, Laser assembled a pseudo therapy group composed of actors with opposing political convictions about Brexit and the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The artist encouraged them to revisit and conflate childhood traumas with their current political frustrations. Laser collaborated with Certified Professional Life Coach, Valerie Bell, trained in Primal Therapy techniques, to elicit connections between traumatic experience and political beliefs."

I felt that the work has the potential to be much more open and expansive, but because the video specifically focuses on Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, it is restricted in its scope. For reasons I am yet to fully identify and understand, there was a rather negative tone to the work, and I came out feeling as though I had been made to feel angry about something defined by someone else (i.e. Trump and the current Brexit situation). Don't get me wrong, I do not think favourably of either Trump or the decision for the UK to leave the EU, but I felt channeled and free from thinking about other situations that 'are bothering me', and therefore felt frustrated that I had not been encouraged to bring my own direction to the work. 

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