Simone V. Barros

Spring, 2023

MAYBE I IS YOU, a sound installation, examines relational perceptions of societal positionality intoned by the return of Caboverdian Americans to the volcanic archipelago off Africa’s west coast.

Set in a black space with dim lights, MAYBE I IS YOU, narrows the audience’s movement to only two directions, forward or backward. Directional speakers isolate and differentiate the sounds heard from one specific place in the installation to another. Each position in the installation elicits a different sonic experience.

As multiple sounds collide with a binaural illusion, a cacophony surrounds the audience from which a Kriolu phrase rises above the fray. Upon reaching the end of the space, an implicit understanding of the Kriolu phrase forms as the U.S. perspective and position travels to a Caboverdian perspective and position.

In my thesis, I study ethnographic surrealism in cinema and soundscapes as a form of art, as proposed acts of decolonization and as a failure. My parallel studies of neuroaesthetics suggest redemption.

Declared unique as it “attacks the familiar, provoking the irruption of otherness—the unexpected,” ethnographic surrealism fails to defamiliarize and irrupt the waking narrative for the clairvoyant nightmare. Operating in art forms of a singular perspective it fails. Rather the disorientating cacophony of unresolved opposing perceptions disrupts cognitive lulls and elicits new cognitive activity. By delving into neurological investigations which confirm novel mentation occurring in audiences experiencing experimental and abstract artworks, I’ve set about the challenge of creating such a novel neural experimental artwork in MAYBE I IS YOU.

On View: March 31-April 15, Power Plant Gallery
Artist Talk: April 6, 6pm, Full Frame Theater