'Dovetail II'

@ Cordova, Spain
November 23, 2019

 

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Openheartedness 
by Ellie Hunter & McKeever Donovan
sound by Miša Skalskis
HD Video w sound, 10:15

 

 

Dear Cory,

Your invitation came at a transition point for us as well –– we’re taking a break from our current space in Richmond and looking towards more nomadic situations now that we’re living in NYC. On the one hand there’s a warmth to these shared experiences … not knowing the best way to support the physical requirements of a project or idea… but it’s hard to feel anything but weary about untenability of being a small, self-financed project space in a larger city. But I think the generosity of Dovetail II is an antidote and we’re really happy for the opportunity to participate with other people we admire.

In preparing for this move, we’ve been thinking about the mythologies surrounding the house where the Sunroom is located. The house was previously occupied by a woman who had a shrine in the front room and had wheat pasted all the walls and floors of the house with grocery store paper bags. In 2014, one of the candles in the shrine caught fire to a curtain and burned most of the apartment. We inhabited it after it was lightly repaired, and always interact with neighbors who incredulously comment on the "bandaid" that the landlord put on the damage in order to start renting it again. Just before we opened our first show, the roof over The Sunroom caved in. Bricks peeled off the second story facade and we had to cut a huge hole in the roof to clear the debris and secure the face of the building. This was our first glimpse into the completely scorched attic, roof and interior walls. From then on, signals and reminders of the charred armature of the house were everywhere. 

Our landlord, Mr. Suggs, collects Hearse funeral carriages and owns a hay farm outside of town with pet albino peacocks. His eyes are almost entirely glazed over with cataracts, he never turns off his truck, and he's often accompanied by his one-eared handyman, James Taylor. A car auctioneer, Mr. Pritchard, lives next-door and his dealership is across the street. Every day he drives back and forth from the shop to his home in a golf cart with his big golden lab in tow, creating a weird metronomic feeling until the work day is done, when goes directly inside and turns on the tv for the remainder of the night. We see the flicker of conservative news stations through a paper butterfly taped in his window. The flagpole hosts a faded flag with a snowman calling out “Let it snow!” year round. There's an elementary school on the other side of the road, and the shouts of kids coming and going from morning and afternoon recess also lends to the ambient awareness of a passing day. In the midst of a neighborhood setting, the Sunroom can feel like a fishbowl with big windows and bright lights looking down onto the street. Everything on our block moves so slowly that the comings and goings feel cinematic... The drone of the everyday becomes poetic and storied.

In preparing our farewells to this place, we’ve been working on a collaborative sculpture that embodies these past and present mythological forces. For Dovetail II we’d like to include video footage of this sculptural character sitting on the roof watching over the Sunroom and its surroundings. The character is both a voyeur and a guardian — maybe the emotional melding of a bridge troll and an angel. One of her arms is attached to a kinetic armature that dips down the side of the building and looks out at the street and into the space. The clips move between shots of the character looking out from the roof, the perspective of the kinetic mechanism dancing between the street and the Sunroom, and the doll interacting with the charred insides of the chimney.

We found your proposal strangely resonant with the ideas we’ve been exploring in this parting piece… taking stalk, exhaustion, nostalgia, monotony, something being reborn from a burned space, etc. The video is called Open Heartedness, and since it isn't narrative, it could just play on a loop. We are also working on a poster and were wondering if there's any possibility to have it somehow displayed?

Let us know what you think and if you have any questions. Looking forward to the show and thank you for including us!

xx
The Sunroom