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Milk-like Piece, 2022-present; performance, multimedia

views of Milk-like Piece: The Descriptor, 2022; inkjet on paper



full Descriptor text:

Two separate spaces are occupied: the Flood and the Antechamber. In these spaces: we live the collapse of collective narratives of extraction into the rawness, undeterminacy and energy of a narrative of intimacy, and the mediation of this collapse.

The Flood is a space flooded with a milk-like liquid. Centrifugal, wave-like sounds fill the space. Melancholia stands in the milk. He wears a white neoprene suit and is holding a handful of microprocessors. A long, thick, broken steel chain hangs from his neck. Lost in thought, Melancholia is crafting a poem out of a confession, absentmindedly suckling on the microprocessors and dropping them in the Flood, one by one. A recorder attached to his body records the poem. If all this sounds like an imprisonment, then it is. Imprisoned, about living. Dropping the last of the microprocessors, Melancholia interrupts his poem and (anxiously) gropes for them in the milk. His memory of where the processors are in this opaque milk depends on how lost and deep he was. Having finally retrieved them all, slowly, Melancholia starts wandering around the space again, and resumes his poem. He gets lost in thought. He absentmindedly starts suckling on the microprocessors and dropping them in the Flood, one by one.

A Visitor cyclically enters the Flood to visit Melancholia. The Visitor comes in from the outer. In a dressing room, the Visitor is washed with water and changes into a white neoprene suit before entering the Flood. The Flood is structured in a way that forces the Visitor to step in the milk to see Melancholia. Once in the presence of the Visitor, Melancholia conceives of each encounter as a unique event in his lifetime. He can act however pleases or displeases him, or move along the following score: he stops crafting, suckling, dropping or groping, to stare at the Visitor. Keeping his gaze fixed onto the Visitor’s, he begins a countdown. If the Visitor leaves his presence before the countdown ends, Melancholia resumes his cycle. If by the time the countdown ends the Visitor is still present, Melancholia moves towards the Visitor. He bends over and whispers into the Visitor’s ear how it feels to be in the milk, in a way that is informed by the current state of his poem. He then asks the Visitor how they feel and what ‘they have seen’. He then presents the chain to the Visitor: he explains carefully to the Visitor why the chain is so valuable to him. He attempts to describe the chain’s physical properties: how much it weights, the dynamics of its movements in relation to his body, how it reacts to the light of the Flood and the white glare of the milk, and so on. Melancholia then plays with the chain together with the Visitor, and improvises thereafter. No specific end strategy is provided. After leaving each other, Melancholia resumes his wandering and his cycle around the Flood. The Visitation can be extended to welcome members of the Public as Visitors, one person at a time.

In the Antechamber, the Flood is mediated. The Antechamber must be an artificial space, proximous yet entirely sealed off from the Flood. A live multi-cam video feed of the Flood, edited in real time, is screened on the Antechamber's main wall. On the remaining walls a number of smaller screens show previously recorded moments from the Flood. All videos lack sound. Three cameras capture the action in the Flood. The cameras are configured to provide multiple perspectives, a cinematic feel, rather than bird-view surveillance footage. Editing is composed live in the fashion of live television shows, by isolating the desired live camera output. The Public enters the wider space of milk-like piece through the Antechamber, where they can hang together and watch the feeds. An auction to acquire minute-by-minute sections of the live feed takes place in the Antechamber at the same time as the public is watching, as well as a bar service, fake and true story-telling performed by very attractive humans in neoprene suits, voyeuristic endeavors, sex, contests, and documentation sharing and gifting. Digital culture sound material isolated from its video counterparts suddenly and recurrently blasts in the Antechamber, loud and un- cued, devoid of any apparent logic.

Milk-like piece performed 6 times, once in each of 6 continents, in cycles of 12 years, for the next 60 years. The merged recording of the poems as the open work of the piece.

Clemente Ciarrocca


Los Angeles, the end of West

Descriptor installation views at MFA Group Show, October 2022, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA


views of Milk-like Piece: The Manuscript (Stage 0), 2022; kozo paper, inkjket on paper

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