Eliza Barrios | Myron Michael

Long Lost Engine by Tape (2008)
Ambient, electronic, post-rock

Battle In Heaven/Batalla en el Cielo directed by Carlos
Raygadas (2005)


A working-class man named Marcos and his wife kidnap a baby for ransom money, but it goes tragically wrong when the infant dies. In another world is Ana, the daughter of the general for whom he drives, who does sexual acts to any man for pleasure. Marcos confesses his guilt to her in his troubled search for relief, and then finds himself on his knees amid the multitude of believers moving slowly toward the Basilica in honor of the Lady of Guadalupe.

The Western horizon/Pacific Ocean at high noon, when the contrast of light is at its greatest

The trajectory from the playlist to the written/2-dimensional inspiration to the work at Intersection:
Myron Michael: After listening to Tape’s “Long Lost Engine,” watching Carlos Reygadas’ “Battle in Heaven,” and sitting on a cliff in Pescadero, CA to note the contrast of light at noon, I made a list of first words that came to mind to describe the sense of duality I felt in regards to all three elements.  In “Long Lost Engine,” the sparse notes, and meditative quality of them, suggested that something had been lost, or begun, that would find resolution; in “Battle in Heaven,” the main characters are amateur actors that, in the film, live out double lives, and the film has an unsteady real-time feel to it, as if Reygadas had taken a handheld camera to Mexico City and documented the life of a couple who had to deal with infidelity and a crime of passion, to show us how they, regardless of their body types and social statuses, live, make love, and work through salvation; the western horizon was illuminating, a point where ocean met sky—but where the sun was arched from east to west, and sunlight was easier on the eyes; half of one blue on top of another, merged with another, reminded me of a Rothko painting, and how abstraction works for things that aren’t exactly what or who they appear to be. Therefore “The Changing Light in Arden” started out as a sestina with these six teleutons selected from a list of fist words: infestation, contraception, denomination, obligation, retribution, and corporation. However, I had to abandon the idea of writing a sestina when the end words suggested a narrative that hadn’t yet come through, one that borrows from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” (for its play on otherness, ambiguity, inheritance, displacement, courtship and marriage) and The Bible (Genesis and Revelations, for their play on morality, sin, obedience, ultimatums, beginning and end).

Using dialog from “As You Like It,” created a setting for the poem that acknowledges duality and otherness in American culture (women dressed as men, Hollywood celebrities as pornstars, etc); and visually allowed a repetitive sestina-like quality without teleutons. To achieve that, I had to use octets instead of sestets, which led the poem further away from the sestina, but brought back the “teleutons” to act as aphorisms.

Finally, because of the impression Reygadas film had on me, I went for an adaptation of a creation myth and imagined it being staged by a company of thespians, and then brought in horses! To add movement to the poem, and to emphasis the beginning and end, the story of Adam and Eve and the book of Revelations (where the battle in heaven happened) suggests.

Re-interpretation/contemporary expression of the traditional “broadside”:
Eliza Barrios:
Traditional broadsides were used to announce advertisements, events, or proclamations. After they served their purpose they were discarded. Contemporary broadsides have a different purpose; they are the event, the artwork, and the artwork promoting the event. It is not likely that one would discard fine art, like say, a wad of paper. I see the contemporary broadsides at Intersection taking the purpose of the broadside a step further. I see them as not only being the advertisement and the event, but as a platform in the middle where re-interpretations and new expressions of the advertisement and the event are always opened.

Resembling an open picture book, vertical horizon embodies the obsolescence of mediums (the broadside, a book, television and film) while leading the viewer to their own interpretation of narrative between the living text and moving imagery. Remaining largely anonymous, Barrios and Michael volleyed creative ideas and thoughts culminating from prompts by the exhibit’s organizers. Visual editing techniques were utilized which evoked the sestina, Michael’s initial inspiration of form for The Changing Light in Arden (view poem here). Through content and cadence, this site-specific installation investigates the peripheries of intended gestures and the momentary grasp of their meaning, reminding us that everything that rises ultimately maintains a lateral position throughout it’s existence.

Additional conceptual thoughts/threads:
Myron Michael: I hadn’t expected the printing requirements of the broadside to effect the revision process of the broadside, but it did! In a way that made the final version of “The Changing Light in Arden” visually stronger—stronger because the poem began as a sestina without a center, and ended up sestina-like with a center.

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