A Sphinx: On the Hwang-Zegeer Biome, installation at Trestle Gallery

A Sphinx: On the Hwang-Zegeer Macrobiome

A Sphinx is a wall installation of photographic pigment prints on light wooden armatures mounted to the wall. 

Fragmented images of my partner, my daughter, myself, and our domestic space are arranged upon the wall to evoke a 6th century B.C. carving of a Sphinx from modern-day Lebanon. 

The work imagines our family as one large, single organism; a unified consumer, producer of waste, enactor of an inscrutable agency.

Over recent years, Science has shed new light on the role of the human microbiome (our resident bacteria and viruses) in collaborating with our native systems on every level, effectively becoming shared partners in achieving homeostasis. To a large extent, the ecosystem bounded by our flesh is the consolidation of many individuals, no “I” but “we”.

I see family as a fitting extension of this body ecology motif, and have noticed a decided sublimation of respective individual aims for the sake of greater familial goals in my own experience of family. The Hwang-Zegeer “macrobiome” effects its own will.

Our macrobiome coheres to the shape of a Sphinx as a nod to the heterogenous nature of this organism, but also points to tendencies in families to harden around traditional structures of belief and behavior. The sphinx is a reference to my own Lebanese-American heritage, and to the forces that bind us to genealogical patterns, encourage precipitous growth in our carbon footprints, twist our bodies into better compliance with a monolithic will.

Almanacs

Pigment prints of my photos are cut up and shaped into sculptural objects, snapshots of my family formed into hybrid beasts. Almanacs imagines the moments of daily life as material to be mined for unexpected synchronicities, larger shapes of meaning that emerge from the particularities of the play of light upon a wall or the coinciding of two unrelated moments. Patterns appear, predictive models emerge, as in the case of weather forecasts and tide tables in a traditional almanac.

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

archival inkjet prints decoupaged to plywood structure, embedded monitors with mixed-media animations, mixed-media. 
13 by 10 by 3 feet
2017


Reinterpretation of our small living space in the manner of grandfather’s mother-of-pearl—inlaid backgammon table. Lines of inheritance. The room of my daughter’s first year of life. 

Created for Near & Dear, EFA Project Space, Curated by Carrie Moyer

The Book of Khalid the Movie

A cycle of short mixed-media animations loosely transcribing The Book of Khalid (1911) by my relative Ameen Rihani. The video was produced in stereoscopic 3D, the tension between the two optical channels relating to the dual protagonists of this forgotten proto-Orientalist novel.

This series of works arose from the study of Little Syria , and is to some extent a culmination of the Little Syria Archive and related preservation work.

Little Syria Archive

Little Syria Parade

This project began with research into the disapeared Lower Manhattan neighborhood of ‘Little Syria’, the al Mahjar literary movement that blossomed there, and over the years involved historic preservation efforts, documentation and maintenance of an historical archive, a participatory parade in conjunction with the 2015 Armory Show, and a two-year residency at the Queens Museum (2014-2016) during which ephemera from the archive were situated into an evolving sculptural installation in conversation with the utopiam architectural visions and urban renewal operations of Robert Moses.

Pull My Daisy

In 2006, I found myself squatting in Allen Ginsberg’s derelict East Village Apartment. The next two years of cohabitation occasioned a series of animations, collaborations with other artists, and ultimately a re-creation of the 1959 Robert Frank / Alfred Leslie film, “Pull My Daisy”. This recreation incorporates the tension between individual authorship, collaboration, and improvisation that defined the original production, and our original footage has evolved into an ongoing series of improvisational quasi-narrative performance/screenings between myself and musician Baby Copperhead.