Spotlight on Faith Arazi & Madeleine Mori
Faith Arazi is an artist based in San Francisco, developing a body of handmade collages, video, and 16mm films. Her inspirations heavily draw from the abstraction and primal stimuli in early children’s programming to engage viewers by way of familiar spontaneity, leading into peak experiences of pure emotions, youthful idealism, transition, and worship for the small and mundane. She is currently experimenting with techniques in repetition, layered visual complexity, and movement.
Madeleine Mori is a Japanese-American poet originally from San Francisco. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in BOAAT, Cosmonauts Avenue, Salt Hill, and Sixth Finch, among others. She received an MFA from New York University, where she served as a Poetry Editor of Washington Square Review, and lives in Brooklyn and is the Poetry Editor at Pigeon Pages.
On the process:
F + M: We were inspired by how "fruit play (shaking in the wind)" called attention to the relationship between the corporeal and the inanimate in art and the necessity of both in order to better understand a singular, as is the case with chiaroscuro. The participants have an animating effect on the installation, moving from a position of viewing through the hanging blue frame to being subjects inside the frame, essentially creating a Droste effect when considering the viewer of the video of the installation is also viewing through the frame of the video screen. Who is the true subject, and how many dimensions of relation can be generated through a single piece of art?
Another element of the piece that struck us and immediately spoke to the genres of poetry and film was the humor out of associative joy, like when the blood orange juice runs down the arm of one of the participants, or when one of them places their arm against the silver mannequin’s arm. To say “this is like this” is not just the basis of humor, one of humanity’s most ancient gifts, but also the basis of metaphor, and therefore, empathy. The two silver mannequin’s arms reaching across a void in the blue frame is a classic image of empathy and connection, harkening back to Michelangelo’s’ The Creation of Adam.
M: When I think about chiaroscuro, I think about “lightness” and “darkness” not so much in the sense of shadow, but in different weights and freedoms, a la The Unbearable Lightness of Being. For this poem, I wanted to take the perspective of various wanderers and to ruminate on the necessity of travel to better understand a sense of home or permanency. I and most people I know living in cities, particularly New York City where I live, feel every few weeks a burning need to “get out,” and I have yet to be able to write about the place I live while I am inhabiting it. But I acknowledge, in this time, the immense privilege to being able to leave a place when you want and to being a (typically) welcomed foreign presence when I travel.
The allusion to The Creation of Adam made me think about classic mythology, and I had been thinking about the perspective of Dionysus as “the wanderer” a lot lately, so he appeared. Recently at a time when I was feeling the need to “get out,” but unable to leave New York, I also had several encounters with peregrine falcons, which usually live in mountains ranges, valleys, and coastlines, but are increasingly abundant in metropolitan areas. The word “peregrine” comes from the Latin “per,” meaning “through”, and “ager,” meaning “field” and can be traced further to the Latin “peregrinus” meaning “foreign.” I think a bird’s independence, its ability to swoop in and out of our human frames of view— our human frames of making— will eternally speak to us.
Beneath the blue frame hanging in “fruit play (shaking in the wind)” is a scene with pink lawn chairs, pink flamingos, and a green felt tree line or mountain scape—further visuals of the relationship between domesticity, or the materialistic world, and escape, or the natural world.