"EFFECSTASY" © Beki Powell 2007 

 

This piece which was installed in a 2005 exhibit titled "Ups&Downs" is a reflection on the strange, unsettling relationship we have to pharmeceuticals, namely psycho-actives, as in antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, anti-psychotics and so on. There seems to be a major idiosyncricy between understanding what something is neurologically doing to you vs. what's actually psychologically, emotionally and physicaly  happening to you.  I wanted to convey here the psychosomatic confusion caused by drugs which simultaneously disorient and soothe the brain.

 

In these collages I used the orange and yellow colour palate of prescription pill bottles, recontextualizing it to create a feeling of warmth instead of sterility.  I also incorporated birth control packaging to add to the hormonal pandemonium that many women experience.  At a certain point, you have no idea which side effects are caused by what.

 

I started by taking photographs of my face and bedroom through generic prescription pill bottles, placing the bottle over the camera lens and shooting through there.  Then I mounted the prints onto yellow cutting boards and collaged on top of them with deconstructed pill bottles and birth control casings.

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This piece was not at all meant to be a negative statement about psycho-pharmacology.  In fact, I am a huge supporter of it.  Effecstasy is more about the ambiguity of our subjective experiences which come out of  the chemical war of trial and error.  However, I believe it is definitely worth the fight.

 

"ANOTHER PLAN (The Dishes Are Done)© Beki Powell 2004

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"MEMORY UMBRELLA" © Beki Powell 2004

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For this semi-functional art object, I rummaged through all the negatives of my childhood photos taken by my dad. I hit the dark room, reprinted the photos, and lined the inside of this umbrella with them, so as to have the beautiful memories hovering over and protecting me always.

 

 

Also an exhibit which featured many of these works and others, Collective Disappearance was inspired by my deep passion for dance music and the culture in which it has birthed.  The collection is filled with little artifacts Ive created reflecting various experiences Ive had at events around the world.  Disco balls, to me, signify a fractured reality, and so they remain an important motif in my work. The disconnected characters that appear in my paintings are supposed to represent neither subject nor object, but simply another element melted into a strange and dreamlike atmosphere. While some pieces signify self-relinquishment, others depict literal representations of clubs, outdoor parties and after-hours through my personal perceptual lens.

 

The last time we have seen a united youth culture of this magnitude was during the hippie and free-love movement, whose blanket of solidarity was also adhered by the threads of music. While the hippies motives were political, one young nation under peace, their protest was an active one. It could be said that the ideology of the Electronic Dance Music scene protests instead through some level of passivity. Antonio Melechi defines this subtle rebellion as "collective disappearance" a revolution where a parallel society comes alive after the rest of the world is sleeping, one which rejects the boundedness of human beings exclusive reliance on measurements via space and time, one which invents an atmosphere of its own.

 

The dance music scene is defined by its festive nature, the party being a mere end in itself. It allows for the momentary loss of identity, both for us as individuals and for us as a collective whole. It enhances the id by eliminating the ego. A pure and genuine expression of the ephemeral, there is a remarkable sense of connectivity in which one can revel for hours, a sense of unity that is void in every-day life. There is a phenomenon here, one in which self-abandonment ends up bringing us closer to ourselves, and in turn, closer to each other. We bond, authentically, over the shared pointlessness and non-goal oriented nature of our present doings, as the synthetic sounds of techno return us to a primitive feeling of senseless enjoyment.

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