MICA Students on ‘My Life in Fiction’ at the Contemporary Museum

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My Life in Fiction: New and Recent Works by Kianga Ford. September 20 – November 23, 2008 at The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore.

Tina Brown: In Kianga Ford’s multimedia experiences, the artist tells the story– and supplies the environment– but the viewer supplies the images. When you first walk into the museum, there are words projected onto the wall. According to the friendly receptionist, the artist wrote these words in isolation, without visual stimulation. The stories are all second-hand accounts of others’ experiences, filtered through the (sometimes foggy) memory of the artist.

Tina Brown: In the next room, visitors are invited to lounge on big puffy inflatable bed things, which have headphones coming through their centers. If you indulge in this experience, a soothing voice will tell you stories. Do it.

Paula Liz Torres: Kianga Ford’s exhibition was an eclectic and unique experience. Each divided space brought about new concepts and imagery, and a new way to interact with the work, creating a silent dialog with the artist. Although I did not go on one of the actual walking tours, I found the concept to be interesting, yet difficult to carry out. To be honest, I do not feel safe walking around alone in Baltimore for any given period of time, let alone strolling along listening to art on an i-pod.

Alyssa Massey: I also went to see this show. I read part of her story that she was writing as we were standing in front of it, it was interesting. I really enjoyed listening to her stories on the couch things. It felt great to stop and relax and listen. I went with a friend and we each had a different story to listen to, but we didn’t know this until a couple minutes later. It was a interesting experience knowing her story was taking her to a completely different world than my story. And those white blown up things we terribly comfortable, it made the listener want to stay whether the story was compelling or not. On our way out I noticed there was more to her story, and I was never fully convinced that she was currently writing her story right then, it could have been a video, but one will never know.

Tanya Gralto: The different areas of the exhibition are different experiences, but are all united through the constant theme of story-telling and memory. At the entrance, words are projected onto the wall, and these are the artist’s account on stories told to her by other people about their experiences. This was interesting to me because these stories have gone through the filter of the artist’s own memory, and so are affected by her own experiences and in detail probably become more fictitious than they were when she first heard them. The second room had five or six inflatable cushions which could be laid on, and headphones were provided. Through these headphones came more narratives recited by the artist. The room to the left required shoes to be taken off to enter, and it was a dimly lit room that provided seating. From speakers came voices of other people, and that created a story in a completely different way. The last room I went into was the one with the film called “Brasilia.” In it the artist, her sisters, and her friends create a fiction that is based on people’s mistaken assumptions of them.

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