Installation: printed video stills various dimensions, cardboard eyepiece, viewing chair mounted on wheels
Image visited: Jessica Karuhanga’s ground and cover me (2017)
video stills documented by Ryan Ferko and Parastoo Anoushahpour
The images of Jessica Karuhanga’s ground and cover me (2017) are video stills from her performance at OCAD University. Karuhanga wore headphones, sweats, and sneakers. She moved along a hallway with windows that overlooked the Grange, an adjacent building of 18th-century British colonial architecture. Karuhanga undulated with various rhythms in limbs, torso, neck, never facing the audience directly, slowly crossed the space from one end to the other.
For my visit to ground and cover me, I crafted a cardboard eyepiece pierced with two holes that contained a mirror angling the point of view 90 degrees. When looking frontally through one hole, the visitor sees the space beside. I selected a series of stills from the video that reflect Karuhanga’s state of listening to her internal sensations, her generous attentiveness, and yet her withholding her own narrative from her viewers. Karuhanga’s concentrated slowness and suppleness provokes questions of value, of perception, of orientation, and a resistance to calculating the value of a gesture.
Asked to navigate through the eyepiece, visitors were invited on a slow walk down the corridor of the gallery. Visitors were asked to sit on a viewing chair that was rolled across the gallery. Performers then angled Karuhanga’s stills towards and away from the eyepiece, dancing the image in and out of the field of vision, with various tempos.