Scrutinearsighted responds to the current wave of “Toxic White Masculinity” evident in the Trump administration, the UK’s accidental “Brexit” referendum and the deluge of sexual misconduct revelations that inspired the #MeToo movement. Combining the notion of the “scrutineer” (an official appointed to ensure that various competitions’ rules and regulations are meet by their combatants) with the condition of “nearsightedness” (or myopia where the eye can focus upon nearby subjects but blurs when greater distances are observed), the project reflects a milieu of biased, opportunistic ideologies and coercive discourse. The installation’s unpredictable mix of drawing, painting and textual components provides audiences with a complex and condensed view of our contemporary predicament; rather than representing easily recognizable contemporary figures, however, the project considers socio-political ills as systemic and stretching beyond their contemporary manifestations, so its caricatures blend a number of power-mad authoritarian tropes from across time and around the globe. The imagery’s palette (a black, white and grey tonal range) is used to invoke both the extremes of opinion and action, and all the ambiguous and ambivalent compromises and equivocations that are part of contemporary life.
The amassed imagery forms unstable and unpredictable continuums and hierarchies on the gallery’s walls, with the imagery seeming to spill from surface to surface before abruptly shifting tone and direction as it offers divergent and dissenting perspectives. Resembling a corrupted tableau, a tattered scroll or a violently undulating graph, the installation envelops the viewer, situating them within an unfolding incident. This installation format offers its audience a paradox echoing the project’s title—the details of various struggles are visible up-close, but obscured as one tries to view the series’ full breadth and absorb its full implications.
To more intimately explore Scrutinearsighted’s disorienting use of language, you are invited to take part in RICHard SMOLinski’s participatory performance, Cointagious!This interactive undertaking introduces the audience to the practice of portmanteau word-coinage and invites participants to help in the spontaneous composition of a collective narrative.
Can’t get enough coinage? Artist RICHard SMOLinski is hosting a hands-on workshop that employs portmanteau word-coinage technique that is evident in the installation’s title and throughout the imagery. The workshop offers participants the chance to explore language’s malleability and potential for creative renovation as they devise their own unique “Cointerventions.” Like a non-permanent and non-damaging form of “portable graffiti” or a decidedly low-tech form of “social messaging,” participants invent and produce personal “community improvement” signage to share with their community stimulate “social discourse.” This divergent signage does not monetize or commercialize common public space like advertising, but instead establishes it as a site for creative communication and generous sharing of perspectives.