Agora Phobia

Andrew J. Paterson

2018, 04:30 minutes, Colour, English


Agora Phobia is a videotape assembled from downloaded images, accompanied by a musical drone and a series of voice-overs. The images are of public crime scenes, meteorological disasters, natural eruptions, and others. Many of the downloaded images have been further processed, suggesting paintings as much as manipulated photographs. There is also a series of concrete poetry drawings which have been digitally processes and therefore abstracted.

The voice-overs are read by performance artist Calla Durose-Moya as if they are found texts. After the final voice-over, Andrew James Paterson’s voice is heard singing against the musical drone. All these texts refer to the tyranny of the weather, to unsavory political climates, to spatial and temporal dislocation, and to chemically-distorted perceptions. The final song is addressed to an unnamed correspondent, suggesting perhaps friends who have not kept contact. The videotape’s title is apt…referring to what is fear of outdoors and of outside spaces. This stalemate situation is hardly atypical of individuals who prefer to stay indoors as the threat of foul weather and public violence has become all too omnipresent.
Agora Phobia has commonalities with other works by this artist using language as images, but it breaks with earlier works by utilizing voice-over commentary yet problematizing authorial perspective by means of having another individual’s voice as the primary voice-over. Agora Phobia experiments with relationships between speaker and image, as well as permitting different associations with these images.

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