Through The Lens
July 1 – August 13, 2016
In David Zung and Susan Cooper’s film Edwina Time Traveler, the protagonist appears in settings and tableaus with found objects and other actors. Moving through time with the feral grace of an unhinged cat, Edwina is the corporeal manifestation of the animistic impulse: chaos in a body, a random smattering of atoms temporarily arranged in a pattern. She is here in consciousness training. She wants to know why we do the things we do.
Disparate elements mark the lineage of stories these assemblages create, but they all share themes of disruption of conformity. Edwina Time Traveler is a collage in which fluctuating environments, costumes, and characters continually renegotiate Edwina’s role. Through unexpected juxtapositions, Zung and Cooper suggest intrinsic meaning that resists interpretive consensus.
As in the Surrealist game of “Exquisite Corpse,” the participants in Edwina Time Traveler actively collaborate in the making of the work. In “Exquisite Corpse,” one person draws on a section of a piece of paper, folds it over to hide the drawing, and passes it to another person who creates another drawing on another section; it is handed off to others until the paper is full. The drawing is unfolded to reveal an image whose meaning is independent of the parts or the individual artists.
Each of us is an actor traveling through our own time. We all wear a costume or a mask in this collective collage. Just as Edwina encounters wooly mammoths and the Virgin Mary, each of us encounters someone or something that changes the course of our own travels. The abandoned becomes beloved. Solid turns to liquid, and liquid into gas. The unforgiven is given a second chance. Memory becomes history.
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.” —Oscar Wilde