~DEAD Time // HUNGER // [I have traveled]~(Pyramid Process)
Documentation of process work at Nes Artist Residency, 2017. Video projection-mapped onto pyramid structure, accompanied by sound/songs recorded in the Skagaströnd church and in Biopol Studio.
Words, music, sound recording, image-editing & projection-mapping design by Dao Strom.
 During this two-month residency in the north of Iceland, I spent time cutting up photocopies of war documentary photographs from the Vietnam-America war era, into many small triangles, spreading them over the floor in assorted patterns and shapes. These were photographs of war’s casualties - trenches full of Vietnamese bodies, helicopters, refugees, several iconic pictures taken by Nick Ut involving napalm and the bodies of children. One photograph in particular - of a group of white male photographers photographing a dead Vietnamese body - was especially haunting to me, not just for the way it captures the horror and spectacle of death in war, but also for its observation, discomfiting at another remove, of war’s onlookers and documenters. As I sifted through these images and re-fragmented them for my own process, I was pondering also the ethics of looking, of witness, of record itself; and the nature of desire as ignited by body-forms that may be either/both horrific and/or wondrous. The sight/site of the body itself produces desire in us: the wish to preserve / capture / possess / remember / salvage or interpret / re-make / re-create / transform or transmit the body into/as image. Meanwhile outside, in the textures and gusts and storminess of an Icelandic autumn verging into winter, another experience of exaltation (or examination) of body - that of the earth - was beckoning. I might simply say about this process: I was wrestling with desire, with ideas/ideals of the body and geography, with image and memory, with past and present, inner and outer landscapes, all of it intermingling.
 The second aspect of the process involved video projection and sound. The idea was to project video mapped onto a pyramid shape and perform music inside the pyramid structure; the latter a temporal element to the installation. I recorded two songs at the residency—one a spontaneous live-performance take in the town’s local church (also triangle-shaped, coincidentally); one a song recorded in the Biopol studio. The songs include textures from outdoors: horse hooves, grass, wind, etc. The process video (Pyramid #1) is an edited time-lapse of the pyramid’s construction, accompanied by the songs.
The first song in the sequence is titled “Kirkja”; the second is “Hunger / [I have traveled]”.
“Kirkja” includes some modular synth sounds performed by Scott Ferguson. Set construction, videography and editing were assisted by Kyle Macdonald.
*Note: these pieces are part of a larger work still in progress.*
DEAD TIME as an over-arching project title refers to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Exilee / Temp Morts, a book of Cha’s collected works I was reading during this process.
Pieces from this work exhibited in an international group exhibit
Summer 2018 ~ 1 Jun to 31 Aug 2018 ~
@ The Factory Art Exhibit
in the old herring factory in Djúpavík in the Westfjords of Iceland
were published online
as a sequence titled “HUNGER [TENDERNESSES IN ]
*The Tenderness Project is curated by Shayla Lawson & Ross Gay.*
image + text photographic works
video art + music