"variations of resistance" (2005), a mixed-media installation
Part of Emmy Catedral's installation was exhibited in “Geography of Now” (May 2005), a group exhibition presented by The Emerging Artist Coalition and exhibited at Pancake Gallery (New York City).
An essay on Emmy Catedral’s installation and exhibit is available HERE at OurOwnVoice literary/arts zine. Parts of her installation relates to conceptualizing the invisible by relying on the “blank” pages from yellow legal notepads. As noted in the essay (by Eileen R. Tabios who also makes the remarks in this post), Catedral
“realized that her goal was not the mark she would make, if only because any such gestures by her may be just 'a small nick, a barely perceptible variation, a small jolt…'”
Part of the installation was comprised of blank strips of paper. Catedral presented the paper strips to exhibition attendees who she hoped would write on them—thus, precisely by being blank, these pieces of paper served as an invitation and an offering of her willingness to listen (read) whatever others wished to say. The image below is after exhibition attendees responded to Catedral’s invitation and offer:
Another item from Catedral’s installation is a reconfiguration of a page from the legal pad. That is, she cut out the lines and drawn margins on the notepaper. Then she reglued the paper pieces back together:
The essay notes the significance of the above result:
The result is different, of course, from the predetermined margins and lines on the pages before Catedral began manipulating the pages. This time, the new lines are a function of where the spaces themselves end and overlap, rather than as vertical and marginal lines imposed against the pages and which the users of legal pads are forced to accept with no input as regards their placements.
Consequently, what Catedral illustrates is the integrity of the objects (the page before a factory arbitrarily lined it) so that Catedral shows how enhanced lucidity facilitates how we may engage with the world more respectfully.
In another part of the installation, Catedral framed a page from the legal pad. The framed piece can be seen in the images below.
While the paper is blank, it’s full of meaning by referencing its context. From the essay:
Catedral … placed some of her works in the bathroom, a space not just away from a gallery where the primary activities unfold but a space that is usually hidden from view, and yet where the most basic acts of intimacy unfold, i.e. the release of bodily waste. By locating “art” in the bathroom, Catedral shifts our mental processes from moving into the forefront a space that is typically low in privilege. And why not? What we release from our body also defines who we are, doesn’t it?
With her bathroom installation, Catedral draws attention to an area that may not elicit much of our thoughts because, presumably, bathroom-related activities are just diversions from another, and more important, unfolding of our lives elsewhere (beyond the bathroom). In facilitating the expansion of our lucidity to acknowledge that our bodily wastes are part of who we are and how we spend our days, Catedral breaks down borders, or moves and erases what would be sources of marginalization (the bathroom as less privileged than the primary gallery space). Moreover, her process of doubling back to reconsider, essentially, Identity is also aptly manifested by the placement of the work to be reflected in the mirror.
Emmy Catedral is an artist based in New York. Her work has been shown at The Queens Museum of Art, Flux Factory, LaMama Experimental Theatre Club, The New York Historical Society, Bronx River Art Center and others. She is the founder of an Amateur Astronomers Society, which has hosted a number of salons featuring guest artists and scientists, most recently at Sadie Halie Projects, Brooklyn. She received an MFA from Hunter College and is a 2014 Center For Book Arts Artist-in-Residence. (Photo: "EC in absentia")