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Museum Mandala (Detroit Institute of Arts), 2018

Edited with footage shot at the Detroit Institute of Arts in December 2017, the video loop transforms the rhythmic rush of visitors across the museum's main entry staircase into a mesmerizing cycle of kaleidoscopic pattern and rhythm. Centered on the legs and feet of the museum crowd rather than the art intended for our view, at one point the loop breaks from their constant flow with the interruption of a stop motion sequence showing a lone figure contemplating Caravaggio's lush painting of Mary holding a mirror before her sister Martha—the man's age and contemplative posture and focus contrasting with youth and the hectic pace outside the galleries. With a nod to Marcel Duchamp's once controversial painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, showing an abstracted female figure in motion, the video loop mirrors and flips several views of museum goers in the act of ascending and descending a staircase. Recalling the totemic imagery of Greig's earlier Gallery Rubbings, their distorted figures possess multiple limbs that in turn resemble abstracted patterns, the Futurist painter Giacomo Balla's studies in motion or the stylized figures of ancient Aztec gods. As wobbly, shifting columns they traverse a kaleidoscopic landscape only to disappear into the oculus-like void at the center of an impossible architecture. The video meditates on the chaos of contemporary experience and art at the intersection of spectacle and contemplative viewing. Drawing poetic comparisons between the museum's architecture and the human body, Museum Mandala offers a trajectory between the past and the present, and considers the role of the cultural institutions that preserve both for the future.

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Museum Mandala (Detroit Institute of Arts)

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