Jenn Cacciola, The Choir, 2017, Multimedia: Audio, paper mache, epoxy resin, acrylic, nails, thread, printed photos., 7'x5'x4'

What did He mean when He asked, "Do you only believe because you have seen? Blessed are those who believe and have not seen"? Art was the product not only of man's need to see, but his needing to cry into God, to touch Him, to love the beloved with Him, to share His joy and His silence, to call Him beautiful, to renounce lineage to Him, to lash out against Him, to be dumb in front of Him, to clear the everlasting lump in one's throat...once and for all, though many times and constantly. Every artist (and young heart) is Isreal–the one who wrestles with God.

 

The Choir is an investigation and expression of the millennial heart. Portions of interviews gathered from millennials (audio available at top of page) play out from the waves, and can be heard in stereo best when the viewer lowers his/her head between the waves. The speakers respond to the question, “Can reality betray you, and has it ever betrayed you?” The overwhelming majority of speakers claimed that reality cannot betray, because “it is what it is,” “it’s black and white,” you’re given what you’re given, but it’s up to you to work at shaping that reality into something better and ultimately form a better person out of yourself. It seems that the millennial work ethic even bleeds into the way we interpret reality. Somewhere in each interview, however, it is also clear that for each speaker, there is clearly a person for which all of this work is done, or by which it was all inspired.

The photos in the waters (all acquired from Facebook) encompass the daily “stuff” of millennial life, and from those waters, the wave crests collect up and distill the images into photos of a single face at a time. However, these are not each a photo of a person, but instead a photo of someone being looked at with enough intention to be photographed. The recognition of this intention toward themselves is consistently traceable in every pair of eyes. Millennials reenter the daily “stuff” of the waters, but come crashing into it with all of the passion gained by these 1:1 relationships displayed in the wave crests. The merging foam carries pieces of applications, contracts, and bills—all traces of things we want for ourselves but can’t always enter into passionately without these relationships. However, even with this passion to possess all of life, we are often aggressively defensive and off-putting to those who claim to know who we are or who try to enter into relationship before we consider ourselves to be ready. The nails that provide structure to the foam give this same off-putting feeling to viewers as they approach the waves.

When considering the millennial, I see an ocean with rolling waves, always rocked about, back and forth among various ideologies and desires—rising in fits of passion and crashing repeatedly. The surface of the water seems to be telling enough, but there is no way of knowing its actual depth or ecology other than entering into it wholly.

The millennial heart is Israel—the one who wrestles with God.

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