looking for a wormhole to fall into
“looking for a wormhole to fall into is a whirlwind of a piece. The one-minute performance is intended to overwhelm in its use of visual and sonic elements, which, combined, make for a consumable, narcissistic experience that anyone with an Instagram handle could construct. Ultimately, it is a contemplation of the notions of the cyborg and the spectacle, two concepts from texts I’ve been exposed to in my classes here at NYU. After reading Donna Haraway’s ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’ (1985), I have accepted that we are indeed a new species of cyborgs—monstrous hybrids of organism and machine. But just how do we perform these cyborg selves today? In the realm of art, I began to question song and dance as cyborgian—two personal practices that are at once from a very essentialist place within me (most evident in my continued use of the process of improvisation to compose) but are simultaneously marketable commodities ready to be repeatedly manufactured on a sort of conveyor belt of performance. A fascination with repetition then drove me to the piece’s cyclical structure. I perform a soulful dance to equally spiritual, trancelike music (composed through improvisation in Garageband) evoking the natural elements of my cyborgian self. With an open invitation to interact with this performance, individual viewers are instructed to activate the performer and accompanying elements—like the click of a mouse instructing a .gif to play. The one-minute experience can therefore be produced in the gallery for nth iterations, manufacturing the piece again and again in the spirit of mechanization.
After reading Guy Debord’s 1967 essay ‘Society of the Spectacle,’ his notion of the spectacle struck me in how applicable it still is (perhaps even more so) today, in 2016. While Debord describes the spectacle in numerous ways, to me it is primarily a system of social relations with the convoluted effect of producing murkier social relations through media, most prevalently images. In the digital age, the spectacle’s use of imagery is particularly evident in social media, so I created a disorienting video that merges a collection of my personal Facebook profile and cover photographs along with a slew of my Instagram posts. These images, all of which I specifically chose at some point in my life to represent me, form who I view as the mediated spectacle of my “real” self in the virtual sphere—a cyborg of mixed origins. Part human-captured in reality, part machine-displayed as light on a filtered screen, this self of images has been living, continuously lives, and will live on (in ambiguous parallel to my “real” self) as an autonomous, fantasy-forming being in the minds of my peers who view its existence and click “like.” Through song, dance, image, light, and repetition, looking for a wormhole to fall into is an attempt to meld these selves of media and flesh in a real-time performance of both. While I do plan to continue existing in the world of electronic representation we call social media, I hope to remind viewers that the digital portion of my cyborg self is still a fragmented compilation of signs edited to further fragment perceptions of myself in the flesh. And I am just one in a species of cyborgs who do this. For we are the ultimate spectacle.”—David Bologna
looking for a wormhole to fall into appears in the 2016 Gallatin Arts Festival.