Jason Edward Lewis
with Bruno Nadeau & Yannick Assogba
The Great Migration (2011)
42" plasma touchscreen
2 * 9'x11' projections
2 * microphones
Words Found on an Empty Beach
Solo exhibition with two works in three parts, commissioned as part of the Objet Indirect Object project.
The Great Migration
The Great Migration is a diptych where one 'panel' is a large-scale (42") touch interactive and the other is a large-scale (14' x 5') print. The work was developed for the Words on an Empty Beach solo exhibition, commissioned as part of the Objet Indirect Object project.
The Great Migration is a poem about leaving, about the excitement of heading out into a great unknown. It's also a poem about expulsion, about diaspora, about being forced to from home, in some sense about my emigration to Canada. Yet it's also a poem about surrendering to the excitement and the compulsion, about the reluctant realization that perhaps fundamental change is needed to keep on living.
This work started as an image that I came upon working with one line from the poem. The concerns of the work became materialized as these bundles of text, almost like collections of language that has been restricted or censured, and cast out of polite company, and sent on a long journey to find a place where they are welcome.
The interactive work is composed of these text creatures, constantly moving across the screen. You read the poem by capturing one of the text creatures. As you hold on to one, it slowly sheds the words of the line. When you let go, the creature continues its migration. Each creature is composed of one line from the poem. Each one is also unique, assembled from a constantly fluctuating set of values dictating its morphology—how many tails it has, how long the tails are, how much the tails move, how big the head is and how much text is in the head. Creature head off screen, continuing their migration, as new ones are spawned at the right.
The print is made an illustration of one of those creatures, but a considerably higher level of complexity in terms of the amount of text and the composition of the creature itself.