Rodell Warner is going places–literally as well as figuratively. Warner, 27, a T&T visual artist and photographer, recently completed a 48-hour residency at the New Local Space (NLS) in Kingston, Jamaica. The residency comes on the heels of a 2011 Commonwealth Connections International Arts Residency, which he took up last year in Johannesburg, South Africa. He's also shown in Barbados at Fresh Milk and with visual artist Sheena Rose in the Project in Space residency.
The NLS residency, Binary Solved, was a joint project with Jamaican DJ Afifa. Warner projected GIFs of images on 7'x4' white sheets hung in the NLS outdoor space while Afifa provided a soundscape for the display. Live dub poets, drummers and even a trumpet featured in the aural part of the exhibit.People have the impulse to think of the world in terms of binaries–something is either this or that–but that is a fallacy, Warner argued in a Skype interview from Kingston on February 4.
"We were trying to find things to show that that separation is an illusion. Performance and audience is a binary too and an illusion."The structure of the work is that you'd wear black clothes and interrupt the projection. On the second night [you'd] wear white and become the image."In the structure of the event we made the idea of content and form one, since the intention was to make connections and dissolve the illusion of separation. That is what the thing contains and how it's made."
Warner said he used a folder of 18 moving images to create the visuals for Binary Solved. The images included cave paintings and "patterns, colours, sequences of things, from all different cultures, African, Chinese....What was trippy was the idea that everything is connected."That universality and connection was the cornerstone of the project.Curator Debra Anzinger said in the interview, "I think there is generally a rhetoric that floats out there that from the moment of existence you're caught up in these systems–culture, family, social interactions–you're trapped in these systems. We were setting up this thing where you could transcend these into existential freedom, where the line between audience and artist was blurred."
Afifa, who considers herself an artist using sound as her medium, said in the interview, "His ability to bring these things to life kind of looked like magic; it kind of had the feel of this outer space, spiritual thing. It was a combination of different things that I saw; I kind of understood where he was coming from. Magic is the best word for it. It was engaging your imagination."
She played music in response to the images and invited the live performers LSX–dub poets Clayton Lynch, Jerome Sage Butler and X–who did improvisational poetry at the event. The trumpeter was Mikey Carroll, the director of Creative Sound Ltd, of which NLS is an offshoot. "I guess he felt moved to play trumpet," Anzinger said.NLS streamed the exhibition live and there are short videos from each night on the Web site www.NLSkingston.org