NEXT TO NOTHING
solo exhibition at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, PA on September 4-27, 2015
Next to Nothing is an installation comprised of animated still images, video, and sound that toys agnostically with the cyclical uncertainty of the transformation of energy, afterlife, and spirituality. It consists of three pieces, Yours As Much As Mine, a two-channel video installation, Mimesis, a single-channel video installation, and Waiting For The Bridge, sound from a record player with a 7-inch record.
Yours As Much As Mine creates an index of the daily materials that Dumlao and her family consumes and transforms these materials into representations of living organisms found in nature. It is an animated awareness of her authenticity as a creature of habit and an active participant in a culture of excessive materialism. In taking representations of her everyday existence and placing them out of context in fantastic suspended animation, Yours As Much As Mine becomes a play on the mythology of transformation and the interdependent universe.
In Mimesis, a collection of pills assumes the amorphous collective form of a murmuration of birds or a school of fish. The pills perform an elegiac dance that invokes the many ways in which we psychologically or chemically alter our consciousness in our everyday lives – via botanical and artificial remedy, medicinal and shamanistic solution, prescribed and ritualistic answers – in order to achieve heightened awareness, euphoria, nourishment, pain management, increased energy, spiritual communion, or relief from anxiety, distress, or chemical imbalance.
Waiting For The Bridge soundtracks the installation with a painted vinyl 7-inch record manipulated to skip on a portable record player. The result is a 1.8-second loop of music, never progressing, never getting anywhere, turning in on itself, much like the endless cycle of consumption and transformation depicted in Yours As Much As Mine and Mimesis.
Next to Nothing continues the tactics the works in her last Vox Populi show Expanded Earthly World and her recent piece, Discontinued, combining generic images appropriated from the internet to create scenarios that are intimate yet mediated to the point of ubiquity. As Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (the source of the titles Next to Nothing and Yours As Much As Mine) articulates the poet’s experience in universal terms, Dumlao seeks shared meaning in the sea of images in which we live contemporary life. In terms of its specific subject matter, Next To Nothing also draws on the late botanist/psychedelic exponent Terrance McKenna’s texts on the wisdom of plants and the unresolved tension of humanity’s inability to find balance with the natural world. Taken as a whole, the three pieces in Next to Nothing combine to create a fantastic, otherworldly, personal meditation on the basic occupation of humankind: the eternal, inescapable cycle of the transformation of waste.