Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents a multimedia installation by SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY

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Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents a multimedia installation by SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY
SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY, DOGWHISTLE[generativeRosestill].png, unity game, 2019, digital image. Courtesy of the Artist.

MADISON, WI.- Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, presents closeLISTENER(reverse, react, “desire”), a multimedia installation by SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY, who is from the Chicago area and now lives in Richmond, Virginia. The fifth iteration of HOLLOWAY’S DOGWHISTLE series, this installation uses text, animated video, and immersive sound to visualize and contemplate loss.

A dog whistle, HOLLOWAY explains, can be heard by some people but not by others, resulting in a sound that hovers on the edge of silence. Those who can hear it describe it as irritating, creating a physical sense of discomfort that even those who cannot hear the noise may experience. Like those who cannot hear the dog whistle, but feel its grievous presence, how can we pursue a path to relief?

closeLISTENER(reverse, react, “desire”) explores how vibrations enter the body, through asking what listens for these almost imperceptible frequencies. The artist uses the analogy of a JavaScript framework called an “event listener,” which is a function of computer code that asks the computer to wait until an action occurs within a program to activate a second set of instructions. What happens during the waiting period is called “listening.”

Through three parts of the installation—reverse, react, and desire—the artist leads viewers (or in this case, the event listener) through a series of thought and movement that center active listening, encouraging viewers to think about desire to disengage from active listening as an intellectual practice, a nagging urge, and a consequence.

Using poetry, an accompanying 30-minute sound piece, sculptural guides, and the series signature shocking blue light and bold text, the artist prompts the viewer to reflect on the nature of loss, both permanent and impermanent.

Says HOLLOWAY, "I'm very excited to work with MMoCA to produce a new installation of my ongoing series DOGWHISTLE. Making this work in the Midwest, the region where I'm from, changes the research I'm doing to build the project in an exciting way. For example, if DOGWHISTLE is about longing and feeling physically out of touch, it's perhaps a common but particularly uncanny experience to feel longing and grief from one's own home—the place where we're presumably supposed to feel the most at ease."

SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY is a new media artist and poet. Known for using sound, video, and performance, HOLLOWAY shapes the rhetoric of technology and sexuality into tools for exposing structures of power. She has spoken and exhibited work internationally in spaces like Performance Space New York, The New Museum, New York, The Kitchen, New York, The Time-Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Oregon, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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