Reversal, 2017, 3 channel installation.
(The central channel of a three channel projection.)
A United Nations’ address to the human species by a horse character taken from a medieval manuscript illumination as the animal kingdom’s representative, declaring a list of atrocities exacted on non-human animals by humans. The speech is adapted from the 2013 text of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s address to the UN General Assembly: “Good day, President…” The speech is also inspired by Kafka’s “A report to the Academy” and the Irish playwright, Colin Teeven’s 2011 adaptation ” Kafka’s Monday,” where a captured ape, who through training has reached “the cultural level of the average European,” reflects on the mutual incompatibility of being human and being free.
In Reversal the horse speaks in a language unintelligible to human beings, which is translated and appears in titles.
Kafka’s “A Report to An Academy”
“Esteemed Gentlemen of the Academy! You show me the honour of calling upon me to submit a report to the Academy concerning my previous life as an ape. In this sense, unfortunately, I cannot comply with your request. Almost five years separate me from my existence as an ape, a short time perhaps when measured by the calendar, but endlessly long to gallop through, as I have done, at times accompanied by splendid men, advice, applause, and orchestral music, but basically alone, since all those accompanying me held themselves back a long way from the barrier, in order to preserve the image. This achievement would have been impossible if I had stubbornly wished to hold onto my origin, onto the memories of my youth.”
With Kathryn Alexander and Karl Jacob
Gabe Judet-Weinshul: Camera
Todd Erickson: Props
Catharine Dill: Transcription
Produced & Directed by Lenore Malen & The New Society For Universal Harmony