Angel­i­ca Mesiti
Relay League

4th May – 9th July 2017
Artspace

Appel à tous. Ceci est notre dernier cri avant notre silence éternel.

Call­ing all, this is our final cry before our eter­nal silence.

In this new com­mis­sion cre­at­ed specif­i­cal­ly for Art­space, Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti presents a three-chan­nel video instal­la­tion and sound sculp­ture titled Relay League. The work takes as its depar­ture point a Morse code mes­sage trans­mit­ted by the French Navy on 31 Jan­u­ary 1997 to sig­nal the immi­nent demise of this com­mu­ni­ca­tion method. Morse code, which entailed a sys­tem of dot and dash radio sig­nals and was often utilised as a lan­guage of dis­tress at sea, was phased out after 130 years in favour of new dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Inspired by this final poet­ic phrase, here Mesi­ti inter­prets its orig­i­nal dots and dash­es through music, chore­og­ra­phy, non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sculpture.

Span­ning the expanse of the gal­leries, the videos and sculp­ture in Relay League are con­nect­ed by a labyrinth-like struc­ture that func­tions as a mem­brane between the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal ele­ments embod­ied with­in Mesiti’s work. As a point of ini­tial encounter, the sculp­ture is ger­mane here and pro­vides a visu­al and son­ic cue to the ideas of trans­mis­sion and recep­tion that res­onate through­out the work. The first video fea­tures the musi­cian-com­pos­er Uriel Barthélé­mi trans­lat­ing the Morse code mes­sage into a per­cus­sive score that per­me­ates through­out the entire instal­la­tion. The sec­ond shows a unique form of dia­logue and exchange between two dancers, Emil­ia Wibron Vester­lund and Sin­dri Runud­de, who is affect­ed by impaired vision. Togeth­er the pair have devel­oped an inti­mate and cor­po­re­al lan­guage that com­mu­ni­cates move­ment and ges­ture; Emil­ia guides Sindri’s under­stand­ing of chore­og­ra­phy through the touch and feel of her body against his. The third depicts the dancer Fil­ipe Lourenço inter­pret­ing Uriel’s per­cus­sive sounds in a new chore­og­ra­phy that direct­ly ref­er­ences silence and vision through ges­tures loose­ly drawn from the ver­nac­u­lar of folk dance. This final video reveals that a dia­logue is play­ing out between each of the per­form­ers, and the dots and dash­es trans­mit­ted through­out the gal­leries pro­duce a sub­tle dis­so­nance so that the work con­tin­u­al­ly slips back and forth between cohe­sion and dis­so­lu­tion. Relay League leaves a sen­so­ry impres­sion of a lan­guage that has been trans­formed into a code, which in turn iter­ates as a score, a per­for­mance, a hap­tic exchange and an instru­ment, enabling mul­ti­ple acts of trans­la­tion across time and space.

Mesiti’s prac­tice chron­i­cles our present con­di­tion. She con­tin­ues to grap­ple with expe­ri­ences such as cri­sis and dis­place­ment – whether eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, social, cul­tur­al or oth­er­wise – and con­front the emo­tion­al states of dis­tress, vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and uncer­tain­ty. Relay Leagueinvokes a fun­da­men­tal humil­i­ty, bring­ing to the sur­face aspects of human sub­jec­tiv­i­ty that are often obscured from view. To this end, the work offers a coun­ter­point: more than sim­ply mak­ing vis­i­ble the forms through which lan­guage and expres­sion are silenced, she allows these com­plex and vital tools of human rela­tions to mate­ri­alise in ways that empha­sise our need for empa­thy, com­pas­sion and connection.

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The project was assist­ed by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment through the Aus­tralia Coun­cil, its arts fund­ing and advi­so­ry body. The devel­op­ment and pre­sen­ta­tion of Relay League is sup­port­ed by Com­mis­sion­ing Part­ner the Keir Foun­da­tion. Relay League was pro­duced with the sup­port of C ND Cen­tre Nation­al de la Danse, Paris and Uni­ver­si­ty of New South Wales Art & Design. Relay League will be accom­pa­nied by a book pub­lished by Schwartz City and designed by Formist. Relay League is tour­ing nation­al­ly in part­ner­ship with Muse­ums & Gal­leries of NSW. Spe­cial thanks to Anna Schwartz Gallery, Mel­bourne. The expand­ed pre­sen­ta­tion of Relay League, Art Son­je, Seoul is sup­port­ed by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment through the Aus­tralia-Korea Foun­da­tion of the Depart­ment of For­eign Affairs and Trade.

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Images

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Relay League, 2017
three-chan­nel HD video, 16:9, colour, sound
9 min­utes 11 seconds
instal­la­tion view, Art­space, Syd­ney, 2017
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley
Com­mis­sioned by Art­space Syd­ney, fund­ed by the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Relay League, 2017
three-chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion video, 16:9, colour, sound; 9 min­utes 11 seconds
Instal­la­tion view, Art­space, Syd­ney, 2017. Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Relay League, 2017
three-chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion video, 16:9, colour, sound; 9 min­utes 11 seconds
Instal­la­tion view, Art­space, Syd­ney, 2017. Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Relay League, 2017
three-chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion video, 16:9, colour, sound; 9 min­utes 11 seconds
Instal­la­tion view, Art­space, Syd­ney, 2017. Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Angel­i­ca Mesiti

Appel a Tous / Call­ing All, 2017
brass bells and steel wire
204545 cm
instal­la­tion view, Palais de Tokyo, 2019
Pho­to: Aurélien Mole
Com­mis­sioned by Art­space Syd­ney, fund­ed by the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts