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'Postcommodity' one of 4 exhibits making debut at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

October 11, 2017 Updated: October 11, 2017 at 10:51 am
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"Headshot" tryptych from the "Postcommodity: A Very Long Line" video installation at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, opening Oct. 14, 2017.

It's rare that four exhibits open on the same day at any gallery, but it's happening Saturday at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

One exhibit looks at border issues in a way you've never experienced.

"Postcommodity: A Very Long Line" is a video installation by the three-person interdisciplinary arts collective Postcommodity examining the U.S.-Mexico border. The artists are Raven Chacon (Albuquerque), Cristóbal Martínez (Phoenix) and Kade L. Twist (Santa Fe). Their work recently was featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial exhibition, and this month they received a $75,000 fellowship from the Ford Foundation to create artwork to "help advance freedom, justice, and inclusion, and strengthen our democracy."

"We're installing the whole second floor" of the FAC, said Jessica Hunter-Larsen, CC's director of academic engagement and curator of interdisciplinary arts. "The Raven Chacon exhibit's in one gallery, and 'Postcommodity' is in the other. Jennifer Steinkemp and Steven Duros are going up also. We are very excited to be offering four major exhibitions."

Technology has been the biggest challenge of installing "Postcommodity," Hunter-Larsen said.

"The video installations are very precisely calibrated. It's gorgeous video, and it's high-def. It must be synchronized. The images that run abut each other and give you that sort of disoriented feeling. It's very immersive and physical. It has a physical impact on you when you walk in," she said.

Viewers are surrounded by a pan of 30 miles of fence that divides Douglas, Ariz., from Aquas Prieta, Mexico, shot from a moving car. Filmed from the U.S. side, the perspective is meant to give a sense of the "other side." Patrons will read an introductory text, walk down a little hallway into a separate, carpeted gallery space. Four video projections include shots of the border area in Arizona. Audio that Hunter-Larson described as a "sonic landscape" plays at the same time.

"Our work is about local community self-determination in this transborder context - how that pushes, pulls, tears and sustains people's lives. In a lot of art happening at the border, people draw color lines and choose sides. We've taken up a different set of strategies," said Martinez, one of the artists in the collective, in a May interview with Hyperallergic.

The artists' collaboration with sound art, visual art, performance and activism is meant to get people asking questions.

"What does a border mean physically, socially?" Hunter-Larsen asked. "Some people have characterized the work as being deliberately activist. In my mind, it's more about complicating the issue, inviting us to look at it deeply and thoughtfully."

MICHELLE KARAS, THE GAZETTE, 476-1602, MICHELLE.KARAS@GAZETTE.COM

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