By Desmond Webb
Nasher marketing intern
When I went to view “Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art from Mexico City,” I saw many works of art, photos and videos, but what caught my eye was “Los pasos del enemigo” (The steps of the enemy).
Art is supposed to make you feel a certain way or even spark up a nice debate, but the immediate flow of emotion–fear in my case–was dead on with this video. I can say that this is the only work that kept my focus and attention in the whole gallery.
What drew me to the video was the constant growling that was coming from the pitch black room. You hear it once and it quiets for a few seconds and then the growling starts again, but more intense than before. Before I even read about the video I went inside very fearful to see what was playing in the room; I wanted to know even though I was hesitant and scared. I felt as if I had to know. Another thing that grabbed my attention was the warning signs telling the viewer to be “very careful” and “Adults please preview this video before entering with children,” the mixture of my fear and curiosity had me walking into the room very slowly awaiting to see what was about to happen.
Once inside the room I saw eyes and teeth appear on the screen as well as the growls filling the room, one after another. My fear was still present, but my curiosity wouldn’t let me move. I had to stay and see the whole thing, to find out the outcome or see the meaning behind this piece. The growls grew more intense, the teeth started to show more and I could tell that the animal was getting upset in the video. I felt as if I was invading its territory. Although I was safe and clearly in no danger (it’s a video) I felt as if I could be attacked at any moment.
Once I left the room I started to read the information about the video. It’s funny because the way I felt from the time I entered the room until I exited was the exact response that artist Miguel Calderon was going for. He wanted to show how someone could be scared, but still willing to go into the unknown to get an answer. This video was inspired by a poster that Calderon had in his room as a teenager. I don’t want to ruin your trip when you come and see this great work, but it was amazing. Now that I think more on my experience I actually really enjoyed it. So you will just have to come see if for yourself.
IMAGE: Miguel Calderon, “Los pasos del enemigo (still),” 2006. Video projection. 5 minutes, 39 seconds.
Desmond Webb is a rising senior at North Carolina Central University.