Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Member News: Alison Nastasi

­­­ Séance

Art Installation by Alison Nastasi

February 1 through March 22, 2008

featuring the Jennifer Bates Memorial Art Gallery

2005 Frankford Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19125



Friday, Saturday: 9AM-7PM. Sunday: 11AM-7PM

Séance takes as its starting point the Victorian séance as a cultural and social phenomenon and the influence of the supernatural on the restricted norms of Victorian moralism. The séance functioned as a catalyst to create a realm of Theatre. In this realm, appropriated/repressed identities and altered states allowed participants to transcend from mere artificial ‘tableau vivant’ into a space of mythic truth.

The séance induced a collective dream state in which ordinary consciousness, by intervention of the supernatural, was lifted and replaced by a more voluptuous and informative spirit. This new collective consciousness was released from the boundaries of flesh and the self. By providing a window into what was felt but rarely seen, the medium channeled unspoken aspects of personality, which could not otherwise be expressed. All this combines to create a state of anticipation, which frames and translates perceptions.

To conjure the spirit was to breathe life into the anima, and for this reason full-body materializations took precedence over all other invocations. Mediums employed a variety of instruments to gain access to other worlds. Spirit tables, trumpets and slates were some of the tools used to display physical manifestations such as voices, words and movement. The introduction of the spirit cabinet, a device meant to restrain the medium through bondage and other questionable means, was later made popular in several of Houdini’s acts. Séance also explores this tangent, the séance as spiritual escapism, utilizing saturnal elements of restriction to enable more freedom for its participants.

Alison Nastasi, originally from New York City, resides in Philadelphia and received her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Through the use of found object assemblage, installation and drawing she explores the uncanny in memories and dreams – creating a symbolic language that illuminates mythologies and other folklore. Currently, she is collaborating with an artist/poet in Istanbul on the text-based project, Umlaut, to be exhibited in Turkey and Philadelphia this summer

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