Hen Vaughan responds to themes of translation and collectivity in Angelica Mesiti’s three-channel video installation, ‘ASSEMBLY’.
Assume first position.
In chair-lined vaults
curved rows of
shell-like seats await
soft thud of pedals,
spurts of type
flit across a screen,
they flash, but words
can be so clunky, shouldered in,
The shorthand stretches
through fluid foyers,
silent arteries of the institution,
pulsing lengths of bloody carpet.
It pulls away into another hand,
score forms, words sweep down the bow
and gather along strings, quick slurps
of breath feed wind.
of one clear note,
though walls apart. speech spread shrill.
body paces, poses, squares up to the interior.
edged along the sofa,
feet directed to the carpet, they
anticipate the moment,
the door wide open,
prime for new enunciations?
Beat cuts in, thumping walls awake. drums at night, archers shoot light
to the ashy sky.
words transform at the taste of being launched
as fresh stars.
Voices rise, the choral motion asks you to hear gaps, requires knowing
when to sing -
translation being just as much what we hear
what is said -
to the hum of residue that lingers, decisions, voices yet to spark the sky
what’s tacit sits
on the verge of a verb,
listen, speak, assemble.
let bare feet, bare hands gesture
through acrid history, muted glass cases.
let the drum pour. let words ride in
on horsehair, swimming there.
in the ventricles,
lift and wag
the red tongue carpet, practice ‘different breath’,
til the chandelier,
All production stills from Angelica Mesiti, ASSEMBLY, 2019, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, © Angelica Mesiti. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, photograph: Bonnie Elliott.