Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia, Preface:
"The social body constrains the way the physical body is perceived. The physical experience of the body, always modified by the social categories through which it is known, sustains a particular view of society. There is a continual exchange of meaning between the two kinds of bodily experience so that each reinforces the categories of the other. As a result of this interaction, the body itself is a highly restricted medium of expression…"- Excerpted from Mary Douglas, Natural Symbols
Q: Where did these forms start? What problem were you working through?
Three concrete objects; a noise show (2008-2013) came out of questions I was exploring while at Bard. I was working from ‘the box’ as a simple delineation of space, for building, for packing, and to explore my complex feelings about minimalism. I posed the question to myself 'what does it look like to construct a hole in the wall?' as opposed to making holes through destructive means (like smashing). Coming from of a community of feminist artists there was a lot of validation for making messy-trashy-destructions that were literalisations of ‘breaking down the system’. I thought maybe this was too easy and that creating punctures, spaces, openings and holes was a method that interested me more. The hallow concrete box with a hole on each side was the first form to come from that question. The angled and cylindrical form came much later after I became aware of the sound/noise making possibilities these objects offered.
Q: What does it mean that these shapes are bodies for you?
Orifices are one thing that all bodies share. And I question how having an extra orifice changes ones experience of the world. I think of holes and holes in bodies as opportunities for consumption, excretion and mutual penetration. Bodies are containers for organs and desires. A container with orifices is a simplified body and an abstract common form.
Q: What's important about the sound aspect of the work?
These are containers of air and space but they are not empty. When the openings are met with a microphone they are amplified generators of feedback. Full of noise. Covering and revealing the holes create tonal shifts. They are like wind instruments, but there is no force of wind just the proximity of my body to these concrete forms shifting the pressure of air molecules. I’m interested in the scale shift that sound adds to these relatively still forms. Through small gestures and crude technology the spectators body, the sculptural body, my body and the architectural body of a gallery are consumed in an aural experience.
A.K. Burns is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Currently she is faculty in the MFA program at Parsons New School for Design. Burns is a founding member of the artists activist group W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), and Curand co-editor of RANDY, an annual trans-feminist arts magazine. The feature-length socio-sexual video, Community Action Center made in collaboration with A.L. Steiner was first shown at Taxter & Spengemann, NY in 2010. The work has since screened internationally at venues such as the Tate Modern, London; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Andy Warhol Museum, PA; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, OR. Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition ‘Ending with a Fugue’ at Callicoon Fine Arts, NY; a two-person show with Haim Steinbach at The Artists Institute, NY; ‘You never look at me from the place from which I see you’, Sculpture Center, Queens, NY; and ‘A Different Kind of Order: The ICP Triennial,’ International Center of Photography, NY. Burns is represented by Callicoon Fine Arts, NY.