(meta)models or how i got my groove back
For this exhibition, the artist continues her inquiry into the ontological and phenomenological structures of blackness in Western culture. As the title of the exhibition suggests, it draws on the concept of a “metamodel”—a simplified model of an actual model of a system—to examine the situation of black existence in America through methods that transcend personal testimony and iconography.
The exhibition includes Dean’s most recent video, (meta)models: “I” is a crowd (demo) which references the visual language of hip-hop music videos. Dean considers the cinematic structure of such videos and its role in producing not only images of black subjects, but also a palpably black cinematic experience. She peels away the genre’s many iconographic and symbolic layers to map the structural relationships that fix the racialized subject. Dean’s video stars a pedestal made of two-way mirrored glass, also known as ‘security mirror’, like that found in interrogation rooms. This singular object offers an abstracted model that replaces and structurally approximates the crowd, which typically dominates such videos. Offscreen, three radio DJs discuss the object’s emergence as it appears in a number of locations. The script draws from text written by the artist as well as snippets from a range of critical writings that have influenced her work, including those by Peter Gidal, Martin Heidegger, Robert Morris, Fred Moten, and Paul Virilio. The DJs* banter searches for the object’s origin and basic structure, obliquely circling the question of what makes the thing itself and what makes something black.
The sculptures, positioned around the video monitor, are made of the same material as the onscreen (meta)model, but are flat, anthropomorphic shapes produced from gestural drawings. Some hang, almost dripping, from the walls, while others appear upright and splayed out with arms raised. Dean’s mirrored sculptures, combined with a dummy camera installed in a corner, watch and reflect the video alongside the audience and architecture of the gallery, creating an endless loop of non-return.