Block title

Work Samples

Video Compilation Reel

Duration: 05:57 This comp reel represents excerpts of work dating from a recent work-in-progress, to earlier pieces created in 2009.

Spirits of Promise and Loss

2020 Multi-channel video installation with audio Gallery installation view (multiple angles) Duration: 02:37 Dimensions: 4’ x 40’

Boxed

2017 2-channel Video Installation (Loop 2:25) Variable Dimensions, Approx: 11' x 27' x 8' Performers: Mandy Morrison, Samantha Siegel, Tiara Francis Director of Photography: Adan Rodriquez As the American proclivity of success and achievement is partially defined by home-ownership, and at the very least ‘having a roof over one’s head’, living apart from this norm, segregates those who have neither and casts them as ‘disposable’.

Housekeeping

2018 TRT: 1:32 Single-Channel Video Installation 12' x 24.5' Password: clean Performers: Mandy Morrison, Tiara Francis, Sammantha Siegle In my most recent video and installation Housekeeping, I reference the slapstick comedy of silent films. In them, the protagonists are often working people, encountering circumstances that challenge their human limitations or undermine their efforts at keeping up with expectations.

Share:

About Mandy

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Mandy Morrison's picture
 My practice in video and performance derives from an interest in how the body is informed by class, labor and mobility. This stems from my earliest years being raised  by domestic workers, who were relied upon for stability and support. Growing up, we moved across the country several times, following my father’s advertising career whose commercial car ads were filmed in remote Western landscapes.  These ads sponsored television Westerns influencing my impressions of the U.S. West;... more

Spirits of Promise and Loss

2020
(Installation view) Six-channel video installation with audio
Dimensions: 4’ x 40’
Duration: 02:31 (loop)
 
Spirits of Promise and Loss, is an animation that uses photographic images of the Old Town Mall in Baltimore as a backdrop for the behaviors and movements of ghost-like characters that populate a decrepit model of utopian possibility. 
 
Old Town Mall was one of numerous experiments across the U.S. in urban mall development that strove to bring suburban shoppers, back downtown. By creating a thoroughfare developed to maximize pedestrian traffic such malls placed parking and cars on the fringes of the walkway, providing storefronts that faced one another on an open thoroughfare given over to walkers.  
 
It was to be the antidote to suburban strip malls, which drew customers away from urban centers. Enticed by the communal village experience, which featured a welcoming walkway, free of car traffic, the pedestrian mall generated hope for urban revival and long-term sustainability.
 
Initially popular, the Old Town Mall currently is mostly abandoned and many shop storefronts are shuttered. In creating this work, I am worked with dancers as models who generate unique movements that speak to different aspects of the mall’s past history, that are captured in video and translated into the drawn characters. 

Assitance in the creation of this project comes  from students of UMBC's Dance Department who generously donated their time as models,as well  from artist Chris Kozjar.

 

 

  • Six-Channel Documentation Composite_.png

    This documentation composite shows images from each of the six channels displayed in the installation. In viewing the work in situ, the panels appear gradually, so that all are never displayed simultaneously.
  • Gallery_Installation View_1.png

    Installation View (south end of gallery)
  • Gallery_Installation View_2.png

    Installation View (north end of gallery)
  • Panels_1+2.jpg

    Panels 1+ 2
  • Panel_3+4.jpg

    Panels 3+4
  • Panels_5+6.jpg

    Panels_5+6.jpg
  • Spirits of Promise and Loss

    2020 (Installation view) Six-channel video installation with audio Dimensions: 4’ x 40’ This piece uses photographic images the Old Town Mall in Baltimore as a backdrop for the behaviors of ghost-like characters that populate a former model of utopian possibility. Old Town Mall was one of numerous experiments across the U.S. in urban mall development that strove to bring mid-century suburban shoppers, back downtown. Initially popular, the Old Town Mall is now mostly abandoned.
  • Diego_dance.jpg

    Dance Department Student Diego, generated a figure (accompanied by his own music and movements) serving as a model for the 'Dance Ghost' (panel 1).
  • Gretta Crawls.png

    Dance Department student Gretta, assists in generating 'crawling' motion (panel 5) used for creating the animations.
  • Drum Major.jpg

    This images (from a video) was downloaded from the internet, and was the basis for the 'Drum Major' ghost character that moves throughout the piece.

Housekeeping

2018
 Single-Channel Video Installation with Audio, TRT: 1:43 (Looped Video)
12' x  26'

Performers: Mandy Morrison, Tiara Francis, Sammantha Siegle
Director of Photography: Aimi Bouillion

In this  recent video installation,  I reference the slapstick comedy of silent films. In them, the protagonists are often working people, encountering circumstances that challenge their human limitations or undermine their efforts at keeping up with expectations. In Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, the assembly-line pace far outstrips the character’s ability to keep-up and adhere to what is required.

In Housekeeping the protagonist is a middle-aged professional woman who is being challenged by youth, class and time itself. Seated placidly and alone in a hotel room, she is, at alternate moments, in situ with a pair of young hotel maids who are straightening her bedspread, beating her with brooms or mopping her naked body on a bathroom floor. The background audio plays an ad for anti-aging products, along with the sounds of running water.

This aging female’s professional body ricochets between poses of entitlement, invisibility, interclass intimacy and naked combat against young uniformed domestic workers in their attempt to smooth, clean, embrace or destroy her.

This project was made with the cooperation and the particpation of students in the Dance Department at Univeristy of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Spooks

2021
Dimensions: Variable
Single channel Video Installation with Audio
Duration: 2:26 (loop)
 
In this single channel video piece, random GIF’s downloaded from the internet are inserted into photo stills of a distressed fence surrounding  a vacant lot. 
 
The GIF file is a MEME of connective tissue, easily made, replicated and widely shared through social media. As it has inadvertently become an ephemeral means of social bonding, operating within minuscule yet infinite moments of repetitive gestures, and gaffes, within them are hoped for redemption and recognition through remunerative clicks, downloads, and widespread monetization. Along with the embedded GIF’s are the bifurcated text from the historian Timothy Snyder’s book, “The Road to Unfreedom”. This inserted text is the result of eliminating nearly all of the words from a page of the first chapter  in “The Road to Unfreedom”, becoming almost Buddhist in its reflection upon the sanctity and political precarity of the present moment of political and cultural polarization.

This work was exhibited at the Tashmnoo Springs Pumping Station in the group exhibit "Microbiology of Circumstance" in  September of 2021. The Tashmoo Springs Pumping Station is a historic waterworks facility in on  Martha's Vineyard. The island's first water pumping station, It was  was powered by two steam engines, and drew water from the lake. It was delivered by a series of pipes to the new development at West Chop, and to Vineyard Haven, where it supplied water for  hydrants and private homes. It was quickly found to be inadequate for the needs of water supply and of fire prevention, and the private company was criticized for its high rates. The town took over the facility from the company in 1905 by eminent domain. The town stopped using the Tashmoo Spring facility as its primary water supply in 1971.  The building and surrounding land became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
 

  • Installation view_3.jpg

    Close-up Installation view of "Spooks" in exhibit "Microbiology of Circumstance"
  • Spooks

    2021 Dimensions: Variable Single channel Video Installation with Audio Duration: 2:26 (loop) In this single channel video piece, random GIF’s downloaded from the internet are inserted into photo stills of a distressed fence surrounding a vacant lot. The GIF file is a MEME of connective tissue, easily made, replicated and widely shared through social media.
  • Installation View_1.jpg

    Installation view of "Spooks" (with video by Anna Sun Park) in exhibit "Microbiology of Circumstance"
  • Installation View_2.jpg

    Installation view of "Spooks" (with video by Anna Sun Park) in exhibit "Microbiology of Circumstance"
  • Installation View_4.jpg

    Side View of Installation "Spooks"
  • Installation_view_5.jpg

    Installation view of "Spooks" (with video by Anna Sun Park) in exhibit "Microbiology of Circumstance"
  • Exterior View_6.jpg

    The Tahsmoo Springs Pumping Station's exterior provided for a unique opportunity to display the video externally during evening hours.
  • Exterior View.jpg

    The Tahsmoo Springs Pumping Station's exterior provided for a unique opportunity to display the video externally during evening hours.

Boxed and ModBrut

2017 
These two video installation works completed in 2017, focused on the body’s relationships to varying forms of modernist and contemporary architectural structures. The installations convey the bifurcated nature of urban development's effects on the corporeal existance.  

Boxed
Documentation/Photo Stills, 6.61” x 17.15”
Two-Channel Performative Video Installation with audio
(mapped projections on panels and boxes)
Dimensions: 10’ 6” x 37’ x 7’3”
TRT:02:25 (loop)

Performers: Mandy Morrison, Samantha Siegel, Tiara Francis

As the American proclivity of success and achievement is partially defined by ‘having a roof over one’s head’, living apart from this norm, segregates those who have neither and casts them as ‘disposable’. Just as unwanted furniture and empty boxes are left in the street for garbage pick-up, those who are unable to participate in consumerist class norms are viewed as unclean and -in turn- unworthy outcasts; victims of their corporeal existence. Unable to benefit from or participate in the ‘disruptive’ digital age, they make shelter out of cardboard and exist in the marginal cracks of exterior physical spaces.

This project was made possible with the cooperation and participation of UMBC Dance Department students.

ModBrut
Performative video installation (projected on panels) with audio
Dimensions: 42” x 65” x 31”
Documentation / Photo stills, 6.61” x 17.15”
Duration: 03:36 (loop)
Excerpt: 01:41

ModBrut plays with the contemporary paradigm of physical mobility in a planned architectural environment – in this case, the university campus (University of Maryland, Baltimore County). As the body’s relationship to such space requires the practical flow of forward motion, I developed insertions of performative actions carried out by students and faculty that defied normative patterns of movement on the campus. Viewers of the installation saw “flow” subverted – though not physically interrupted – by these actions. Within the installation, there was physical disruption of the image created by projecting the video onto angular sheets of foam core protruding from the walls. The audio consisted of ethnographic observations recorded by several participants. Given the task of identifying their experiences of specific sites on campus, they reflected on their own experiences of the modernist campus both before and after participating in the piece.

The Journey of the Invader Spirit (Work-inProgress)

2020-2022
This 10-12 minute video installation, Journey of the Invader Spirit to be exhibited at the Peale Center, in 2022, connects harsh environmental realities with ocean-based sustainable energy research possibilities.
 
Concept: In the video, a pernicious illegitimate ‘Invader Spirit’ travels the land blithely wreaking havoc on the local population by way of boundless forms of consumer lust, then later, punishing with detritus and waste. Eventually, the Spirit’s malevolence gets challenged a by a team of artful Capoeira (Afro-Brazilian) martial arts practitioners working with the aid of angelic oceanic agents.
 
Process: During a Brazil residency, I was attending local environmental clean-ups, meeting and working with residency staff and a local Capoeira group regarding their participation in a video project that could reflect their interestes and concerns. We were able to share and discuss ideas about labor, collective creativity, myth-making and the environment.

Exhibit  / Video Narrative
The video’s narrative, and exhibit, explores the exploitative nature of colonialism, and accompanying environmental degradations born of consumerism. The ‘Invader Spirit’ character represents the darker aspects of Western colonialism; the harm generated by all manners of pollution and how the pursuit of ‘stuff’ ends up degrading the waters and land.  Here the ‘Invader Spirit is challenged by defiant Capoeira martial artists, who want to defeat the darkness brought on by this Invader Spirit.
 
Exhibit  /Video Narrative
The video’s narrative, and exhibit, explores the exploitative nature of colonialism, and accompanying environmental degradations born of consumerism. The ‘Invader Spirit’ character represents the darker aspects of Western colonialism; the harm generated by all manners of pollution and how the pursuit of ‘stuff’ ends up degrading the waters and land.  In this video, the ‘Invader Spirit’s, evil ways are challenged by defiant Capoeira martial artists, who want to defeat the darkness brought on by this Invader Spirit.
 
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music and was practiced by enslaved Africans in Brazil at the beginning of the 16th century. It is now a popular globally practiced martial art.
 
Aspects of the colonial histories of (port-cities) Baltimore and Salvador /Itaparica, Brazil, are quite similar in that both were active ports and places of public slave transport and plantation life through into the 19th century.
 
In this work, the Capoeira are aligned with the microscopic organisms and plant life found in oceans that scientific research is using in its in developing new types of fuel and natural products that can consume all manner of toxic waste from our oceans, rivers and land.
 
Community Outreach
The video work and community programs will provide a Baltimore City audience, narratives of possibility and empowerment made available through the martial arts cultural practice Capoeira, born of defiance and originating from the enslaved population in Brazil, as well as from the ongoing oceanic research at iMet, and other oceanic research programs where groundbreaking environmental science explores the redemptive potential of sea life.
 
The intention is to underscore the havoc generated by polluted waterways and oceans, and equally, how solutions to environmental problems- through science and research- may be found in the very marine life that are found in ocean waters.

Arcosanti

2012-2016
TRT: 11:00
4-channel Video Installation with Sound
9'x 23'

A reflective performative work, filmed at the sustainable community of the same name located in Arizona. In it I use physical (bodily) aural and textual expression as a conduit for exploration of the architect’s creative and personal attempt to integrate natural systems with intentional communal living.
In considering an alternative to the frenetic/wired pace of urban existence, I ventured to this community attracted by its premise, unique building structures, immersion in nature, and isolation from other communities.
The site is something of a relic of the ‘60’s and early 70’s, in which counter-cultural experiments in agriculture and urban living had gained currency. Embedded in counter- cultural idealism, the reality –as well as resistance– to seeing such ideas made manifest in the Western world is continually evolving. Yet it is emergent, and as all structures are built on thoughts, such concepts are continually being re-imagined.
While historically iconic and architecturally influential, Arcosanti’s initial premise –to be a self-sustaining community for up to five thousand people– remains largely theoretical. 
In my time there, a bodily reverence for the site and its playful architecture, coupled with poetic observations about the community experience set against the scenic natural backdrop, inform the textual overlays in the piece.

Made with support from the Wexner Center’s Artist Video Program, Columbus, OH

  • Arcosanti

    2016, 4:00 excerpt, TRT 11:00, 4-channel Video Installation, Dimensions variable Arcosanti is a projected experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business in Yavapai County, central Arizona, 70 mi (110 km) north of Phoenix, at an elevation of 3,732 feet (1,130 meters). Its "arcology" concept was posited by the Italian-American architect, Paolo Soleri (1919–2013). He began construction in 1970, to demonstrate how urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the destructive impact on the earth.
  • Arcosanti (4-channel Video Still)

    Still of 4-channel sequence focusing on aspects of the architectural environment
  • Arcosanti (4-channel Video Still)

    4-channel sequence with performative actions taking place in the community theater
  • Arcosanti (Video Still)

    Performative action taking place on the site's steps.
  • Arcosanti (Video Still)

    Performative action taking place on steps that form a portion of the roof for the theater (on the other side of the structure)
  • Arcosanti (Video Still)

    I found myself feeling awe at the sense of possibility present in this environment. It both inspires and suggests varying types of ideas about physicality.

Live Performances: Users (2016), 100 Days (2014), Cake (2004)

2015/16
Users
,
Performance, Dixon Place, New York City
Duration: 42:00
Excerpt: 11:00

Writer/Diretor, Mandy Morrison, in collaboration with Lori Greene and Gabriella Dennery

Users is an interdisciplinary performance, that illuminates the perspectives of two women on opposite sides of the cultural divide; one a professional female who works in data analysis, and the other a working-class law enforcement employee in the prison system. Taking into account a specific time frame, this interwoven narrative, examines the experiences of two fictive characters as they move through daily life, reflecting on the past and looking at the present relevant to their circumstances. How they see their place in the world, relative to class and race, is highlighted by a sudden act of violence

2014
100 Days
Duration: 30:00

Performance
Lyons Recreational Site, Staten Island, NY
 
Participants: Angelo, M. Angelas, Terry Bennet, Gabriella Dennery, Rachel Marie Carson, John Foxell, Lori Greene
Artist/Facilitator: Mandy Morrison
Assistant Director/Social Media: Lauren Denitzio
 
 
100 Days, a spoken performance, was conceived to capture a diverse range of perspectives. Ever since Roosevelt pioneered the 100-day concept taking office during the Great Depression, it has been used by the U.S. media,  and scholars as a gauge of political success and activism. In the lives of ordinary people however, 100 days is an arbitrary timeframe that can demarcate either, an incremental changes in the flow of daily life or a dramatic shift in one’s personal landscape through unforeseen events. Through the mining of personal stories, this series of interwoven narratives, illuminates a range of insights taking into account a specific timeframe from each participant’s life, as a point of reference.

The performance was presented on December 7, 2014, and made with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts.

2004
Duration: 10:00 / 
Dixon Place/Chasama Performance Space, New York City
Performers:
Mandy Morrison
Kelly Kivland
Rebecca Davis
Nora Stevens

Text and Audio Design
Mandy Morrison

Set Design: 
Mathias Neumann

Video Effects:
Jeff Morey

Using the construct of Marie Antoinette' s stance (and purported quote) toward her peasant population, "Let them eat cake!",  I worked with collaborators to generate a multi-media performance loosely based on the facts of her life.

Some of the visuals were derived from 1960's pop culture;   which included a vintage album cover of a woman sitting poised in a cake ("Whipped Cream and Other Delights), as well as tracks ("A Taste of Honey") from the album as background audio. We also used a hair styles and matching waitress costumes to reflect the era.

The dancers perform  as angry waitresses who serve up real cake from from a tier of the Antoinette 'Dress" to audience members, as the cake-sitting 'Marie' quips facetiously about her pesky subordinate 'help'.
The  main character derides all who are below her royal  'station' and at the performance's end, the waitresses turn on their 'Mistress' and attack her with knives and destroying  the cake/dress she sits in.

 

Blue Sky Project (Video work resulting from participatory residency)

2008-09

In the summer of 2008, I spent 6 weeks working with rural young people in northern Illinois at an innovative artist's residency, called Blue Sky Project. The residency, which hosted an international consortium of artists,  paired working artists with young people in the creation of new work.

During  my residency we focused our attention on creating  performative pieces that examined 'context'; what  spaces mean, what are the expectations within a space,  how do we feel in these spaces and how could one disrupt these expectations.

We had the use of various commerical spaces and the building and grounds of a local community college.
Young people chose the locations and created their own costumes for certain perfomative experiences.

Blue Sky ran from 2006-2012 and was located initially in Woodstock, Illinois north of Chicago before relocating to Dayton where it was affiliated with the University of Dayton  from  2009-12.

  • Flag, 2008

    Flag, 2008-09 Single-channel performative video TRT: 08:58 Participants from the Blue Sky Project Artist Residency, Woodstock Illinois Working with youth from the surrounding community and engaging with ideas about performance and the body-in-context, we chose to work in a college gymnasium as a site for exploration. Examining its competitive and nationalist implications, and through the use of simple props, a series of performative gestures yields subtle political interpretations about the meaning of colors, fabric and space. Made with the support of the Blue Sky Project Residence
  • Play

    2008, 3:20 (Two-Channel Video) Working collaboratively with youth as part of the Blue Sky Project we create handmade costumes that reference native American culture and the Elizabethan stage, and generate a series of intimate performances that flout the restrictions imposed by formal theater protocol.
  • Sleep

    Participants from the Blue Sky Project Artist Residency, Woodstock Illinois Working with youth and engaging with ideas about performance and the body-in-context, we analyze the classroom as a site for physical exploration. Discussion revolves around the classroom as an environment with the potentiality for learning, distraction, boredom, or indoctrination. The site is turned into an impromptu slumber party, with the results recorded in video. An invite is issued for other residency participants to see the video and come to a classroom of overturned desks and chairs.

Initial Public Offering

2001-04
Durational Performance
3:00 (excerpt, performance documentation)

Participants
Kelly Kivland
Rebecca Davis
Nora Stevens

And with help from
the University of Minnesota's Art Department

Locations
Downtown Minneapolis (2001)
Cuchifritos Gallery, Essex Street Market, NYC (2004)
Outdoor plaza, Metropolitan Museum of Art (2003)

On three separate occasions, I did a performance piece titled “Initial Public Offering” to arouse questions from a public accustomed to seeing lavish corporate promotions of new products targeting them as potential consumers. I distributed promotional buttons with a logo and query: “Who Decides What Matters?”  The product being pitched to consumers­­–The Co-Dependent Suit– which were two connected orange jump-suits  such as those used in the prison system and maintenance industry- had no tangible use.

My interest was to generate dialogue about the relationship between capitalist output, and the values purportedly represented by such products. 

Originally commissioned  in 2001 by the University of Minnesota's Visiting Artist Program

All the White I Am (Photo Series)

2013-15
During the winter of 2013-15, I worked at a remote recreation facility for the City of New York. We had a number of youth groups who used our digital facility  to surf the web, and print images of themselves  taken with  cell-phones as well as images of celebrities, downloaded from facebook or the web.

As they would often leave cast-off images in the printer I would pick-up what was left behind,  and  consider the overlap in our worlds.  I would then combine them with a variety of other images; some performative actions of my own and some of the surrounding environment which combined urban structures, with utilitarian facilities.