Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation
American, b. Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 1986
Video; color; sound; 9:05 min.
Courtesy of the artist and
Bridget Donahue, NYC
Sondra Perry’s work examines how technology mediates familial and cultural histories. In this video, an avatar modeled after Perry delivers a monologue. She first discusses the limitations of the software used to render her image and its inability to reproduce Perry’s body type. The avatar then discusses a study examining the “just world” belief—the idea that the world is a fair place where people get what they deserve—and its harmful effects on Black people, who are led to believe that negative outcomes stem from personal failings rather than systemic racism. The avatar hovers between speaking as a Black subject in the real world and as a digital being in the virtual realm. “What’s still familiar is our incredible exhaustion: looping, running, daily,” she says. Perry’s video is normally shown on monitors mounted to an exercise bike intended for office settings; viewers who turn the bike’s pedals find that their own strenuous, but unproductive, physical labor resonates with the avatar’s ruminations. Perry splices the central monologue with footage of exorcisms and animated skin that ripples in digital waves.