galvanize graphics by bruce cayone

Monday, August 28, 2006

Visibly Absent: The Black Eye Project, by Nikolai Noel

At the core of Galvanize is "Visibly Absent", a series of nine artists' projects. This is the first in a series of notes on each artist and his or her project.

nikolai noel work in progress

From Nikolai Noel's Black Eye Project--work in progress

Bio: Nikolai Noel was born in 1976 in Trinidad, and grew up in the east Port of Spain district of Belmont. He attended the John Donaldson Technical Institute then entered the world of commercial video production as an animator. He began to exhibit in 2000, and has shown work every year since, participating in a number of group shows and one solo show in 2002.

Statement: The purpose of my work is to question the way we structure our civilisation. Why are the institutions that govern the world we know, the institutions that govern the world we know? Could we have evolved an alternative, more equitable form of organising ourselves? Is it too late to do it? Do we have the will or desire for that kind of thing? I am interested in the millions of years of occurrences that brought us to this point.

My work owes a lot to my Christian upbringing, forming in me the desire to tell stories and make my point in parable form, as Christ did. I may at times invent entire mythologies as analogies for social situations, or manipulate existing symbols and narratives to suggest new meanings in an attempt to expose or subvert accepted, established social institutions.

The Black Eye Project: This project attempts to draw attention to issues of security and liberty. It also addresses economic and political issues. Large stenciled images of "The Blimp" will be spray-painted onto sheets of industrial clear plastic and layered so as to tell a moving story of concerns and implications. Each image will be different, and mounted so that the viewer can either view the layered image as a whole or move between the images to see them as individuals. The images themselves will be black and graphic.

There is also a public element. A small stencil will be used to "tag" areas where one may be surveilled in public. Though "The Blimp" has not been in operation for a while, the image and implications of it are still present in the public consciousness. The project seeks to engage the public in an as-of-now understated debate on issues of crime and privacy and trust, as we await the inevitable return of "The Blimp" to our night skies.

The Black Eye Project will run from 13 to 26 October, 2006, at various outdoor locations in and around Port of Spain, and in the Back Studio at CCA7.


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