Andy Robert  

 “…like others before me I have the gift of sight, but the truth changes color depending on the light. And tomorrow can be clearer then yesterday. 
Memory is the selection of images –some illusive, others imprinted indelibly on the brain. Each image is like a thread, each thread woven together to make a tapestry of intricate texture. And the tapestry tells a story, and the story is our past.” –Eve’s Bayou (1997)

I view a world of mass communication yet increased voicelessness; and see art as a viable tool, a mode and form of criticism and critical reflection. Invested in arts’ critical capacity, I work from and respond to numerous sources –seeking to represent fleeting moments, uncovering of ephemeral, hidden, voices in “peoples” history; making apparent invisible laws, social morals and oppressive boundaries. My subjects fluctuate between a local, current, and historic worldview that address myth, historic truths, and political content found, archived; and in the world. And through collage&assemblage;, and performative installations I address structure and process as a form of gaming that frame and mediate our engagement with art and the world. I navigate “information” –roaming through archives, the Internet, Google, encyclopedias, and libraries alongside the ephemeral and unseen, of rumor. I work with news: newspapers, books and I travel. Thus, I acknowledge the body as a point, not alone or at center but social, of many points orbiting, pushing and pulling; conversing and relaying. And seek to question our boundaries, our space/time and our humanity as either a common, mutable and/or a fabrication.

Working at the intersection of performance, sculpture: collage&assemblage; and installation, I address fragment as a state, the result of collision –colonial, migration and otherwise. Thus, I utilize a form, which draws from the 70’s assemblage tradition, like language, that is creolized and pigeoned.

Conceptually, I’m interested in structure, chance, and notions of gaming particularly for its ability to influence, alter, and frame perceptions –ways of viewing, experiencing and engaging with art and the world. Working in an assemblage tradition and with archives its’ interesting what happens to things when they come in to proximity and/or collide.

The summer of 2010, with support from CalArts, I got the opportunity to travel and spend 3 months in Rwanda. There I was able to witness the peaceful re-election of President Paul Kagame, and his sworn-in ceremony at Amahoro stadium. Among many other delightful and immersive experiences it was through seminars on genocide, human rights and development I’d encounter the chilling memorial site Murambi. The Murambi Memorial Site is a site where more then 45,000 victims were killed during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Situated in the zone of Turquoise –its where French soldiers had their headquarters, launching a “humanitarian” mission Operation Turquoise, to play and construct volleyball courts on top of mass graves containing the bodies of genocide victims. Now its a site which displays 850 preserved bodies as victims of genocide, memorial to this international tragedy.

For my Thesis show: I Witness Murambi, I created an installation which sought to reconstruct and reassemble representations of these volleyball “courts” alongside this false notion –illusion and (mis)representation of peace keeping. Thus, bringing these politics to a public institutionalized space and investigating what happens when the politics of one space and place collide with another.
And against an adjacent wall a desk-like podium acts as pedestal –a sculpture on its own, which too, carries ornaments –travelers keepsakes, souvenirs of spotted turkeys from Rwanda –one shattered, alongside articles and essays collected during seminars, classes while traveling; titled: Human Rights as Development; The Right to Development; Development as a Human Right: Reality and Rhetoric; etc.

Untitled (Eyes), likewise shares similar themes and concerns surrounding the politics of humanity; and is concerned with human rights, the global and historic representation and misrepresentation of the human condition and agony, prisons, war and torture. Untitled (Eyes) is a two channel video installation, which documents a trashcan being filled with water. Created 2-3 years ago, right after the election of President Barack Obama and while in graduate school at CalArts, Untitled (Eyes) was inspired and created in response to media talks on water-boarding, torture, interrogation tactics and human rights violations. Talks surrounding a newly elected Obama and whether he’d protect the Bush Administration, the United States and its secrets.