Santa Ana, CA
On a daily basis, we observe and are observed by others. Based upon these observations, we make judgments and adjustments in our lives. Occasionally, we are watched, but such observations go unnoticed; sometimes we know someone is watching and, once in a while, we just “have a feeling” that the walls have eyes. Consciously or subconsciously, we choose to engage with a situation or, alternatively, to just observe from a distance.
How we as individuals respond to these encounters shapes society at large. If we choose to engage in open, positive approaches, trust in others can lead to social groups and tight-knit communities. But in a contemporary world where “fear of the other” runs rampant, such interactions often evoke mistrust, profiling, and paranoia. Personal mistrust often evolves into institutional mistrust, and vice versa. Power structures are no longer clear-cut, diminishing the control and order we have over our own lives.
Stretching out flat depicts a complex narrative that parallels political aggression with a personal sense of social phobia. The film on some levels operates within the world of cinema and television drama, yet simultaneously drops important established visual and textual elements of narrative structure, to expose the script as read, its visual accompaniment as composed and contrived. Strangely, the effect of this is to authenticate the story, to confirm its validity and its focus on very human action and sociological gesture. The works basic premise – a personalized tussle with photographic media – proposes a doubling and a loss of identity in opposition to mass political protest, an almost documentary exposé of social helplessness in the face of the small afflictions of everyday life.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.