Curated by Yasmeen M. Siddiqui
Fascia refers to connective tissue in the body, to a sheath or protective membrane surrounding wheat or bodily organs, a collection of objects that gives the appearance of a band or a stripe, an opening or doorway, or the layered surface that creates the illusion of dividing architectural structures. Engaging with many of these meanings, this project by Pia Lindman, Fascia, unfolds as a series of live performances, video recordings and drawings, that engage in a visual dialogue with the renowned design of the Storefront for Art and Architecture fa ade by Steven Holl and Vito Acconci. Like Acconci and Holl, she challenges the traditional notion of facade as constituting a membrane that simultaneously separates and erotically joins the inside with the outside. Fascia departs from the definition of the membrane-wall as both a marker and an embodiment of space.
Her live performances reflect the tension between art and architecture as a conflict between what is aesthetically pleasing (the seduction of surfaces, facades or the face itself) and the realization that our experience of space is circumscribed and curtailed by the very structures we inhabit. For these performances she designed a chair, echoing the devices used in early photographic portraiture. Tiny metal arms extend from the headrest of the chair to hold her head in place as she sits. More devices appear with every performance: another arm extends up from the seat to fit into her mouth; clamps, magnets, and rods are added to this metal frame, forcing her face to conform to increasingly more difficult, uncomfortable positions. The structure of the apparatus gradually takes control over the face, pulling and stretching the skin, eyelids and lips into controlled (mechanized) grimaces.
These performances are recorded and edited as a series of time-lapsed (layered) videos focusing on her face. With a fixed camera, she films 60-minute close-ups that are edited into one-minute transparent-layered sections: a one-minute video shows 60 minutes simultaneously. Every facial gesture is blurred (the blinking of eyes, the parting of lips, and the tiny movements of the head due to breathing). Because of the duration of the pose, the face generates minute movements that do not emphasize the individuality of facial features but cause it to lose any sense of intentional expression. The face is rendered empty like an architectural element open to interaction and dialog. At the same time, it also appears immobile a grimace, a mask. Surprisingly, the fusion of mobile and immobile elements causes the architecture of the face to move and facial expressions to dissolve.