Dropping anchor

Garrick Imatani’s “Corridor at Sea: the Performative Object” at the ICA@MECA
By CHRIS THOMPSON  |  July 3, 2007
PERFORMANCE INTERACTION: Garrick Imatani curates a collaborative show.

“Corridor at Sea: The Performative Object” | Through August 12 | at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, in Portland | Wed-Sun 11-5; Thurs 11-7 | 207.879.5742 x240
Curated by artist Garrick Imatani, and featuring work by artists Pam Lins, Ohad Meromi, Halsey Rodman, and Imatani himself, the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art’s current show “Corridor at Sea: the Performative Object” is an ambitious experiment in thinking through the relationship between performance and installation. The Portland Phoenix caught up with Imatani to find out more about how he developed the show’s rigorous and playful approach to this complex terrain.

How did the concept behind the exhibition find form, and how did you approach it as you selected these artists and staged this collaboration with them?
I’ve known Halsey for a long time and during one of our conversations, he brought up theorist Judith Butler’s description of identity as this repetitive act of performance which resonated in the back of my mind long after we talked. I think this notion of identity as something fluid and acted-out aptly describes my own conclusions regarding many personal experiences, and yet is a model which never attempts to wholly define subjectivity or undermine the importance of unchangeable factors on a social scale or a level outside the control of a single individual. When I thought about putting together a show, I wanted to find artists whose personalities and work would help find expression for this sort of model ... at least metaphorically. I was hopeful that in working with friends that were open to collaboration and all its slippery definitions, we would be forced to come up with a different permutation of collaboration or presentation of our work than what we might have already done in previous projects. I knew that each of these artists would bring their own work (each with its own set of agendas and narratives) yet have a willingness to present their work in way that allowed pieces and practices to be read against or even with one another. In other words, a show whose identity would be formed by the playing out of the forces brought together on site (artists, objects, resources, time).

What’s the significance of the title, “A Corridor at Sea”?
The corridor serves as a passageway or linkage between all the artists and the physical prongs of the gallery space. When all the videos are playing, the only space that is shared amongst all four participating artists is the projection corridor. And the reference to it being “at sea” takes on everything from the romantic and tragic to the lack of boundaries and territorial law.

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