Recess | 41 Grand Street
My Twilight Zone Thing
In Session: Nov. 10 – Dec. 19, 2015
Closing Event: Dec. 17, 6-8pm
On November 10th Sondra Perry will begin work on My Twilight Zone Thing, as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use Recess’s public space as studio, exhibition venue, and grounds for experimentation.
Perry’s project takes the television series The Twilight Zone (1959–1964) as the starting point for an investigation of multi-dimensional identity construction. Using Recess’s space as a production set, Perry will work with twenty invited participants of color to film re-performances of the narrated introductions to all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone. Perry will edit the collected footage at the end of each day and screen the accumulating material in the storefront windows. The project will result in a five-channel video installation, which will be on view at Recess during the final weeks of the Session.
My Twilight Zone Thing builds upon the artist’s belief that the original show dismantles whiteness through the lens of science fiction. Although each episode of The Twilight Zone opens with the narrator (series creator Rod Serling) describing the mostly male, primarily white characters, these individuals go on to enter an alternate plane—a move that complicates the viewer’s ingrained ways of seeing and coding the characters’ physical realities.
Perry posits that the way in which the show scrambles assumptions around the characters’ bodies gives rise to multiple new possibilities for seeing and understanding their personhood. Perry will work with the collaborators to experiment with this dissolution of identity as they insert themselves into these narrated scenes. With only the original script remaining as a point of reference to the source material, the actors will have the opportunity to assume, mimic, or defy the externally prescribed characteristics, thereby taking advantage of the rift between representative structures and real bodies.
About the Artist:
Sondra Perry makes performance, videos, and works as a data generator and free creative laborer at The Internet. Perry has exhibited in group shows at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; MoMA PS1, Queens, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem, New York. The artist has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency, and the Experimental Television Center, and is currently an artist in residence at the CORE at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Perry received a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2012 and in 2015 was awarded a MFA from Columbia University, New York City’s 12th largest employer and the number one cause of gentrification in the neighborhood of Harlem, New York.