Sanctuary was collaboration between Ryan Guerrero, Bill Giordano, and myself. The concept of this research-based installation was saturation of media. The idea behind the project was to create a safe space within a chaotic world of advertisements, movies, television, and other forms of visual and audio media, meanwhile asking participants to rethink their own level of media consumption.
The images themselves present a wide variety of messages. As Marshall McLuhan noted, “the media is the message”, and we wanted to inspect what those messages were from the perspective of progressive and conservative media. We each found media that we found to present ideals of beauty, gender, politics, family structure, and other sociological areas of study in either freeing or limiting ways. The videos were presented as two quadratic setups changing each quadrant of video at random intervals. Videos ranging from Paris Hilton to I Love Lucy to CNN were shown. The audio was not separated, so the installation created a type of sensory overload chamber for people (a metaphor for how our culture sometimes operates) giving a total of 8 audio outputs on a 4-channel stereo setup. The installation was concealed in an audio/video room at an old Circuit City building.
Within this chamber, a second handcrafted room was draped using black curtains in the center between the video feeds. Participants were invited inside of this room for one. Inside this room, a broken television stood front and center. A single pair of headphones hung nearby presenting a collaborative-made audio from each of our practices and interests. Audio was created to pose media that each of us creates out of expression rather than with intention of mass distribution. Our practices were blended together to create a truly collaborative audio piece. The area trapped out all light, minus one single LED light that lit the headphones, giving an almost ethereal presentation of the headphones. This space was a sanctuary from the overload of messages and media presented in the outside room. The thought that our culture uses entertainment to escape (create sanctuary) reality at times was a prominent concept in the installation, but juxtaposed next to the message that, at times, we need to get back what is important to us as individuals (the sub-chamber).
Sanctuary was presented in a shut down Circuit City building in December of 2009 during the exhibition, “Class Action”.