As I was rooting around my photo library, I came across this video installation titled ‘Catching Up, 2017’ by artist Sandra Mujinga. In this week’s post, I’m thinking about how Mujinga explored personal relationships in a public space, whilst simultaneously retaining elements of privacy.
In this work, privacy not only applies to the edited speech, but perhaps also to what we can’t see. Against the backdrop of a green screen, each woman dons a ‘wearable sculpture’ that forms a kind of protective skin, altering the conditions of bodily visibility’. Mujinga’s modification of public and private communications with the audience only lasts for 10 minutes. But what’s the deeper implications of this? As a multi-disciplinary creative (musician, DJ and artist) Mujinga has worked with green screens in other work. In an interview with Olamiju Fajemisin, Mujinga explains that ‘in my videos, when you see a black background, it’s a green screen. It allows me to host ideas and alternative spaces. Green is ultimately Black’ (e-flux, 2020).
The premise of this work made me think about the last time I had received or given a compliment. And how often this occurs in my life with friends and family. In a way compliments (being given or received) does come with an element of vulnerability. In real life we don’t always have the option to transform the visibility of our facial expressions or body language during such conversations. But Mujinga poses an interesting intervention of distorted visibility during a seemingly everyday conversation…
Sandra Mujinga (b.1989, the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is a Norwegian musician and artist based in Berlin and Oslo.