Lisa DiLilloâ€™s video and photographic work focuses on the peculiar interactions that take place between human constructs and other life forms. In her video piece This Call May be Monitored, a segment of a larger body of work entitled Encounters, a group of pigeons gather around a lost cell phone in an urban park. As they randomly peck at the keys, they inadvertently dial a corporation that employs a voice recognition system. This results in a series of misinterpretations and technological cul-de-sacs. The fleeting sense of triumph over a technology meant to convenience the corporation over the individual quickly dissipates as the viewer recognizes that the corporation itself is not affected by this encounter whatsoever.
Exquisitely crafted and making clear reference to post-minimalism, Simone Leigh questions the bourgeois strategy of that formalist movement, which favored materiality over cultural meaning. The titles of these works mirror this formal disconnect, referencing the “Cake Walk” dance that was adopted by white, southern society. The cake walk was actually created by slaves to mock the strut of their masters. But just as the slave masters did not care what the dance was meant to emulate, the essentialism of minimalist and post-minimalist masters did not take into account either the national origin of their raw materials or the ethnocentric grounding of many forms considered to be essential or aesthetically pure. By remaining conscious of the economic and social connotations of her sculptural forms, Leigh not only evokes an underlying history of colonialism, but she also reminds us of its presence in an art world that continues to coolly reject any reminders of the world outside of its self.