Cécile B. Evans’ practice offers percipient, moving accounts of the governance and rebellion of human emotions, in particular as they come into contact with technological and physical structures that seek to rationalize or streamline them. Her films, sculptures and installations articulate moments of dissonance as instruments of capitalist progress and technological advancement come into contact with variable and uncontrollable human behaviors. Through narrative propositions, Evans explores this interface between humanity, the realities it produces, and its organizing infrastructures.
Over the past 24 months, Cécile B. Evans’ work has been devoted to the realization of a multidirectional project entitled Amos’ World, a fictional television show set in a socially progressive housing estate. Across three episodes, viewers are introduced to an architect named Amos – played by a puppet – and the tenants of the individual-communal complex he has built. As they become increasingly aware of the failures and tensions within the infrastructure they inhabit, Amos exhibits the anxiety of his plummeting power. In response to this breakdown, the tenants begin the complex task of negotiating a solution.
Something tactical is coming. repurposes a highly detailed and surrealistic scale model of an architect’s office, a set used in Episode Two of Amos’ World. The scale model presents a desk and bookshelf that fades into a raised den area, in which certain objects – chairs, posters, personal effects – have been replaced with flat surfaces painted in the distinctive chroma key blue. The backside of the model is lined with with several small monitors displaying video rushes of characters filmed for Episode Two that play out a looping visual conversation concerned with biology, meteorology, humanity. A misting apparatus is embedded within the model, periodically releasing fog to induce the sensation that the staged room is itself the container for a brewing micro-system – a possible allusion to architect Le Corbusier’s contentious concept for the ultimate living condition: “a cell.”
Multiple smaller sculptures, whose forms are built around emptied out computer servers, are suspended at opposite ends of the gallery. Over several years, Evans has deployed the form of the server in her work, presenting it as a vessel that captures the deep analytics of human behavior, as well as capturing some of its most emotive and expressive correspondences. Housing different layers of printed images within the servers, these sculptures point towards the shared function of the server and the image: each is a storage unit capable of housing memories, or reproductions of reality. As a catchment for interactions that transpire online via conveyance technologies, the server is a vacant shell that fills up with artifacts of human thought, action and impulse. Evans inserts images into these servers grafted from Ernst Neufert’s Architect’s Data and images of flowers that fed into the artist’s research of the Nargis, anthropomorphized daffodils that are characters in the three episodes. These physical assemblages offer isolated moments within the larger network that unfurls from Amos’ World.
Courtesy of the artist and Château Shatto, Los Angeles
Photos by Elon Schoenholz