It is an in-between space. Hotel lodgers are meant to feel pampered and guided, perhaps more so than they would feel in their own residences. Yet, nothing in any room belongs to these visitors. In a paradoxical state of being both at home and away, hotel guests occupy an intermediate point between origin and destination.
Sisters from Another Mister’s mixed-media installation Anthias is a multi-screen video contained within in three circular sculptures. The screens float within the shelving units in the hotel lobby as the travellers float, untethered, in a foreign city. The installation takes its name from an androgynous genus of fish that swim under coral reefs, beneath the range of a scuba diver. In Anthias, the artists spin adrift in a pool’s deep-end as temporary passersby through an elsewhere space. An elsewhere space might be thought of as environment that induces, or requires, an alternative mode of human perception: the galaxy, the womb, underwater, a foreign city.
The viewer observes the aquatic orchestra by way of and also with an anonymous character. The faceless body, which moves in and out of the frame, occupies the interstitial space between the content of the video and the tactility of the screen. Sisters from Another Mister have long considered video as a physical presence and not just a hypothetical surface. Not only does this relate to the artists’ interest in a sculptural modes of display, but also it alludes to the plethora of essays that posit our world as a fragmented, post- flickthrough, multiple tabs open reality. In this case, the screen is another elsewhere space.
The internet, the cinema, the smartphone: these are all screens that call for systems of perception that surely mimic, but do vary from physical reality. The artist’s interest in the screen as both portal of fantasy and also a harbinger of a new real is in proximity to larger cultural concerns around the now-useless distinction between screen and life. Can two people fall in love, ‘for real’, online? Can a soldier be trained for real combat with a first person shooter video game? Like being home and away in a hotel, screens are often sites of an odd clash between accessibility and detachment.
The primary gesture in Anthias should be understood as a reflection on the reality being in transit. Bodies that migrate, change, or place themselves out of reach, like the eponymous hermaphrodite fish, allow for radical shifts in their existence.
Rob Franklin underwater camera operator.
Taylor Le Melle (b. 1988, New York) is a curator and writer based in London and New York.
Installation View, photographed by Eva Grin
2015, Pullman Hotel St Pancras, London, UK
4 Channels Video (00:19:21), Perspex, Gel Filters, Fabric, Cables, Synthetic Hair