"Home As Situation" exhibition, Bolivar Art Gallery, School of Art / Visual Studies, University of Kentucky 2020 | Esther Neff | Lorene Bouboushian, IV Castellanos, Christen Clifford, Shawn Escarciga, Ayana Evans, Simone Johnson, Anya Liftig, Iki Nakagawa, Sierra Ortega, Elaine Thap, Bret Schneider, april vendetta
PROTAGONY: $100 for Truth involves an assembled body or “jury” of 12 individual artists. Each artist is offered $100 in exchange for a “statement of truth” in the form of a brief text and 3-minute video. After receiving the texts and video, Esther Neff attempts to substantiate and embody subjective interpretations of each artist’s judgements of truth in brief performances resulting in material remains.
12 videos with 1) each “jurist” artist’s video 2) that artist’s statement and 3) the interpreting artist’s video responses, are shown online.
In the context of Home As Situation, this social performance frames self-jurisdiction and social substantiation as a homeboundings or homebases and acts of truth-evaluation as homing devices. Challenging binary conceptions of public vs. private spheres, active vs. mental processes, and economic vs. ideological notions of value, individual/intellectual property, justice, and materiality, the process operates through social, conceptual, and financial contracts. Demanding that artists intentionally materialize “truths,” is both idealistic and absurd, while attempts to understand, interpret, and materialize truths are earnest and interpersonal, enacted between friends, colleagues, comrades. While cultural actors (artists) especially tend to disbelieve the idea of any universal or non-relative “truth,” art is also often claimed to be “more true than true” in spiritual or affective ways. As a theatrical third option, this performance/process proposes that feelings of being at home in this world (more valuable than money) are directly materialized by having one’s personal, emotional, and political truths substantiated.