ANVIL (A New Vision In Light) is an Art + Curatorial Collective founded by Rosalinda Gonzalez and Juan Puntes. Igor Molochevsky, Elizabeth Schmuhl, Andriy Bazyuta and a series of anonymous guest artists are artistic contributors. They live and work in New York City, Chicago, Kiev, Spain, Mexico, and Kotor, Montenegro.
Glass Patterns is an audio-visual installation and performance as ‘group portrait’ for social justice.
Work is created in a three step process and debuts in the group exhibition,
Intimate Transgressions, September 2015 at WhiteBox.
The first stage is the inquiry and pathological reflection of military ethics portrayed via process driven research and performance for video. The second step is working with survivors leading to the final stage of engagement with space and live audiences. The installation becomes a backdrop for performance and the exhibition plays host to an educational panel on the destructive phenomenon of organized military rape, conducive to transgressions in the theater of war the troupes will engage soon or later.
Glass Patterns (GP) is an audio-visual installation and performance as group portrait for social justice. The Work has been developed by the New York based art collective ANVIL in response to an invitation by the curatorial team of Intimate Transgressions , a multi-media group exhibition at WhiteBox exploring the human experience of war from a gender perspective reflecting on the urgent necessity of limiting future conflict. Glass Patterns pertains, alludes and directs our view to, at least, a few probable causes as the roots of the phenomenon of organized war rape and genocide rape being contained in, and unfortunately intrinsic to, the traditional hierarchical structure of the military as-is and remains today.
The artwork that constitutes Glass Patterns is being developed in a three-stage process. The first/current stage is the inquiry and pathological reflection of military ethics portrayed via ‘process driven’ research and performance for the medium of Video. Research on the topic/subject generates the material culled from online publicly available videos as testimonial sound samples, and other conducive information gathered via internal methods by one of the female artists having been raised in the US Military culture.
The testimonies of surviving women veterans inform a series of performances for video such as “Drawing a Line with my Civilian Clothes,” a performance staged on Governor’s Island, traditional seat for the Army branch of the military in New York City. Overall, GP asks key questions, “why enlist” and “where does the journey begin” -for a civilian woman in the moments leading up to trading in her civilian clothes/freedom and purported for a constraining mores of the uniform; public nudity in such environment portrays the complex visual tenor enshrined in the video images exposing the traditional ‘object’ (and frailty) of desire, unbound. A moaning, shrilling sound composition is crafted with the electric violin enveloping the surviving veteran’s voices to the tune of a strong seashore wind in this video piece. In a surreal framework, a quasi-metaphysical scene where the Ellis’ Island ferry transports the viewer past the iconic Statue of Liberty is paired to the denuding body of the actress.
The video installation sketch within the GP installation, “Testimonial Totem Pole,” consists of a looped video allowing the viewer to listen with headphones to news reports, congressional hearings, and survivors’ sharing their stories with the media. Echoing the military structure, there is a “chain of command” and hierarchy that is expressed in the verticality of the five CRT video monitor installation.
In progress are two more videos, “Treading Water” and “Suiting Up.” Both performances for video are created as a two channel rear video screen projection into a 1.75 liter bottle of Vodka-alcohol being a primer for seduction. It contains sound compositions of testimonies of veterans working during active duty dealing with the “second betrayal” and the nightmares, suicidal thoughts, and drug abuse that often followed. A final performance for video is to be determined yet in the research process of “the breakdown of the civilian” and the “building up” of a solider in basic training.
The second step is working with survivors, conducting interviews and further journalistic research on the theaters of war these veterans worked in. One important form of research is undergoing a 30 hour New York State rape crisis counselor certification and a 30 hour military sexual trauma training conducted online through the Military Rape Crisis Center. This stage will help transform the work into a rich group portrait for social justice offering the viewer a deep understanding of the respectful sensitivity and perspective the topic requires. Panayiota Bertzikis and Kori Cioca are muse to a series of video, performances and paintings. They are key figures in the fight for justice as survivors of military sexual trauma. Availed of further training, ANVIL aims to reach out to them as a collaborator and supporter.
Interviews conducted will generate substantial content and movement leading to the final step, that is, to engage the space and the public at WhiteBox.
The installation Glass Patterns is a backdrop for a two-part performance by invitation only. Guests and participants will be veterans, key New York arts/cultural figures, and journalists.
The first part, “A Series of Slow Escalating Violent Gestures,” features a female performer in uniform lying in a still crucifixion pose on the ground. Participants cut away at the uniform to the severe score of draconian music syncopated by sudden moments of strict silence and wedged-in interviews linking memories of the unfolding betrayal of her “band of brothers” on the hopeful road to recovery on the home front.
The second part of the performance is a series of live “Pinning Ceremonies” decorating survivors adjoined by a collaborating in situ action of an ‘alternative medicine’ doctor. Special pins and ceremonies will be created by members of ANVIL to honor the strength, courage, and aid in recovery through acupuncture and meditation.