March 7, 2021 – May 22, 2021
GeoVanna Gonzalez’s solo show at Locust Projects, HOW TO: Oh, look at me, is an act of intersemiotic translation. The words / commas / syntax of Martin Jackson’s poem No Rothko have been translated into the metal / bolts / corners of Gonzalez’s installation.
The poem is taken from Jackson’s open-source poetry collection: www.tutorials.fyi. Written and shared in Google Docs, readers are invited to comment and edit on the poems. The collection is always completing, never completed.
The invitation in this show is to see Gonzalez’s work in a similar light, as open-source installation. The work only becomes itself when we are within it; we are the figuration.
On entering the gallery your phone’s cameras are covered with the same kinds of small, colorful stickers that Berlin’s famous techno club Berghain uses. If you’ve ever lost yourself in there, you know that this simple gesture changes everything. The policy protects those who might want to look or act in ways they don’t outside the club. But everyone is affected.
How often are we alone with our own first-person? How often do we stop looking for flattering backdrop and light? Be inside yourself, the installation says. Look for looking’s sake. Listen to the rhythms of Miami rain. This is meditational aesthetics.
Gonzalez has been “translating” Jackson’s poems for several years. As the fifth iteration of her HOW TO series, this show deepens Gonzalez’s commitment to creating provocative, participatory social spaces within institutional settings. As acts of queer infiltration, class-aware interventionism, her work wants us to see and explore, to dance and read-out-loud the potential of our embodied cognition. We are only when we interact, when we commune.
“It’s challenging,” Gonzalez says, “transforming from language to space, words to installation. But it’s revealing. They overlap—they’re different but the same. Poems build spaces that we enter, explore, that change us. I want my functional sculptures to do the same.”
Gonzalez’s use of poetry as foundation takes her work somewhere new. More than any other form of writing, poetry destabilizes its own medium. It is a tool for weirding and reinventing language. It is ritualistic, incantatory. There is logical depth to poetry that can be deceptive, that can pull the rug from under you.
This kind of upending is true of Gonzalez’s functional sculptures. The poem translated for this show reads: “We are, all of us, edgeless, / and senseless.”
There is no self without space. No you without where you are.
Oh, look at you.
GeoVanna Gonzalez is a Miami/Berlin-based artist and curator. Her work desires to connect private and public space through interventionist, participatory art with an emphasis on collaboration and collectivity. She builds installations that are designed for non-directive play in order to express the potential of our embodied cognition. She references architecture and design by reflecting on how the voids in the spaces we inhabit affect our everyday. Through her work she addresses the shifting notions of gender and identity, intimacy and proximity, and forms of communication and miscommunication in today’s technological and consumer culture. Her most recent work performs these possibilities by collaborating with movement and sound based artists. These improvisations are political acts, analyzing and critiquing what it means to share public space as womxn, queer folks and people of color.
She is founder and curator of Supplement Projects, an alternative art space and community meeting point based in Miami; co-founder of performative reading club Read What You Want!; and member of queer/feminist arts collective COVEN Berlin.