Three Walks: St. Thomas / Red Bank / Salton Sea
This project began with research into a phenomenon where lost architectural structures and entire communities are being revealed, as waters recede in lakes and reservoirs due to extreme drought conditions. I visited three such landscapes, walked these arid terrains, to witness and experience each environment. This three-channel installation and artist’s book are a contemplation on the shifts in nature due to climate change and the impact of these troubling man-made transformations.
My personal exploration of these places: searching for exposed ruins, witnessing the devastated landscape while enduring debilitating temperatures are the subject of this work. They can be read as a metaphor for what we remember and what we choose to forget, personally and collectively. Handwriting, a disappearing practice, no longer being taught in many schools, figures as a storytelling tool in the work. The physical and psychological experience of walking alone in nature as a woman, an ongoing theme in my work, also figures prominently.
Animated drawing and hand-writing, as well as video footage from these sites comprise the installation at Winslow Garage presented in November 2018.
1). St. Thomas, stop motion animation, 3:30, 2017
2). Red Bank (Searched not Found), HD video, 2:00, 2018
3). Salton Sea, stop motion animation, 3:45, 2017
“Three Walks: St. Thomas / Red Bank / Salton Sea” artists book by Elizabeth Leister is a 46-page perfect bound book with her photographs and text further examining these three landscapes and her experiences within them. $25.00 (email to purchase a copy.)
“Laura”, HD video with sound, performed by Laura Barcelo at Performing Arts Forum, St. Erme France, 10:10, 2015
Library, 1:00, 2015, with Elisa Ghion and Utam Moses. Created at Performing Arts Forum, St. Erme, France, 2015
“the invisible lake called telepathy”, video, 5:05, 2015
Strange Loop, HD video with sound, 6:48, 2014
The impact of time and space on individual and shared memory is the primary theme in Strange Loop. Video footage, found photographs, drawing and abstract digital painting are woven into a reflective account that questions how images can connect us to places and to each other.
This internalization of time and place is explored through the contrast of actual experience and visual representations of place, specifically from a recent trip to Iceland. The loop of memory and the blurring of precise details figure prominently.
Sky, Live-Transmission Video, March, 2014
For the month of March the Los Angeles sky was transmitted as a live video feed 24/7 from outside my studio window into the UB Gallery at the University at Buffalo as part of the exhibition, “Yoko Ono Fan Club”.
The work is based on “Sky TV” created by Yoko Ono in 1966 where a camera placed outside of the gallery was pointed at the sky and through a live-feed, shown on a television set in the exhibition space. “Sky” expands the live-feed with a concurrent collapse and expansion of time and geography through live durational broadcast.
Burn - HD video with sound, 3:20, 2013
Footage of the Ventura County California landscape decimated by wildfire in the spring of 2013 is densely layered with color, shape and line. Quick glimpses of burnt cacti and a horizon line emerge but become consumed by painterly, scratchy abstract gestures of destruction. The video ends with a color shift to the bright green regeneration of the landscape.
La Recherche, excerpt from a 12:00 single channel video with sound.
La Recherche weaves an open and meditative account of the search for a past professor in a small Belgian town decades later. Through a series of performed drawings, images and memories are conjured, marked on the page and wiped away in a gesture of erasure. The unreliability of memory and the passing of time impend the search for Professor Mees.
Trace/Cut/Paint, single-channel video with sound (from performance with video projection for the camera), 2:35, 2011
Trace/Cut/Paint is a trilogy of three performances for the camera. Each one is performed in response to a pre-recorded video of a similar act where my hand makes a line, a cut and a print of my other hand. I essentially collaborate with a databody version of myself using traditional tools to mark where the physical body once was in space and time. The project is inspired by the Peter Campus work, “Three Transitions” from 1973
Spectre, single-channel video with sound, 5:00, 2011.
Spectre combines my own video footage with found clips illustrating motion and the impact of gravity on the human body. Floating bodies, weightless, become invisible and contrast with bodies succumbing to their heaviness as physical beings. Disembodied voices over urgent sirens describe a fallen body which floats into another state leaving behind a deep and heavy absence.
Disappearing Act, single-channel video with sound, 2008
Crystal Ball, single channel video, 2:00, 2004/2009
The result of a private performance, Crystal Ball uses the body as material, tool and canvas to continue my exploration of the fragile and powerful body, interior and exterior spaces and the ephemeral.
Symbiote, single channel video with sound, 5:50, 2006
Images of the body and the interior workings of a computer underscore a female voice recounting a symbiotic relationship with a machine that is magical and mysterious, fulfilling yet frustrating and ultimately inescapable.
Vista, originally a three-channel video installation with sound, 2002. Single-channel video, 3:40, 2008
Vista is an exploration of physical, psychological and emotional space played out in the open landscape. “In Vista the camera teases out traumas residing in a landscape, yet leaves its precise story untold. Vista traverses invisible dangers in the seeming innocence of nature and offers as consolation spaces simultaneously claustrophobic and protected." A red veil covering the camera constricts the vista but creates an interior. The camera traces a path through a confined, pristine labyrinth; on the soundtrack a woman whispers a poem by a Dutch mystic that envisions what it would be like to occupy a vast space. Threat and possibility coexist in the sounds of a body running, a momentary picture of possibly infinite space, and the artist’s reading of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.”
Pas de Deux, single channel video, 7:30, 2004
Pas de Deux is a moving collage exploring corporeality.
“Marking, Very, Nearly, Away”, an installation project, Highways Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, 2011
Marking, Very, Nearly, Away, an interactive installation, invited the audience to mark their presence in time and space. Using live video feed and drawing, traditional and digital approaches to recording the body are explored in real time through audience participation.
The viewer was invited to participate in the work by drawing on a large sheet of paper in the gallery. Video of a drawing of a hand being made by Leister was projected on the wall opposite of the drawing. As the audience drew on the paper, a live-feed camera inserted the bodies of the audience into the projection layering drawing and bodies.
Every Body is Everywhere and Nowhere, (6:15), multi-channel video installation with live transmission performance and surround sound at The Morris Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2006
For the duration of this project I performed a daily drawing outlining my physical borders in my LA studio which was simultaneously transmitted in real-time into The Morris Gallery in Philadelphia. The drawing from each previous day was first erased and a new set of lines were layered over the residue of earlier drawings. A series of sixty drawings were built up over the two month exhibition on a single sheet of paper.
A second video showed a collage of imprints left behind by family and friends and an animated drawing of an outlined body moving through space comprised the third screen. Like the drawing created in the performance, lines built up to define a path of movement, then reversed and erased.
A computerized voice expressed a desire to be everywhere and nowhere, everyone and no one while a second track, taken from my writings, overlaid a voice whispering as if she were light and breath in an unnamed space. The three projections were installed in relation to a set of mirrors creating a kaleidoscope of images and reflected the body of the viewer.