Phyllis Baldino’s project for In-Between Theories is the first step of a new work in progress. It is untitled for the moment and In-Between Theories is casually calling it “underwater”.
Phyllis has created a spacetime inside a plastic tub of water where a simple action with minimal props puts the viewer in a timeless space of location vs. dislocation, continuity vs. repetition, and continual presence vs. continual difference. One theme is global warming, inspired by Jeff Goodell’s 2017 book about climate change, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World. Other themes have yet to emerge in the larger work. What’s here is the first clip, the first look and the beginning of the process.
Phyllis’s performance in underwater reminds us of a child’s emergent sense of time, space, event, and substance – curiosity and experiment. Physicist Lee Smolin’s influence is in the background of the performance as well, specifically his “search for the equation beyond time” (P.B. quotes Smolin). We know from Smolin’s writing in Time Reborn that timelessness is a fallacy and that time, like light, moves from past to present. Phyllis Baldino brings the arrow of time to bear on basic contradictions and presents a visually captivating scene within a 00:41 loop where beginning and end are impossible to discern.
“One of my fondest memories as an art student is sitting alone in a small library booth with just a turntable and large headphones listening to John Cage and David Tudor’s sound collaboration piece Indeterminacy (1959). Their composition was so many things, yet so simple—funny, smart, quirky, beautiful, surprising, engaging, random, straight forward and more—it changed my idea of art forever.
Cage set up rules for the work: he had to speak each story within one minute, Tudor was in another room unaware of when Cage spoke or what he was saying. Although not planned and totally random, the result is astonishingly perfect. Taking this lead, I sometimes create simple rules for my pieces where I allow chance to play a role.”
ABOUT PHYLLIS BALDINO
Phyllis Baldino has been working with the moving image since 1993. Having received a BFA in sculpture, her work was very process-orientated. While living in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, as fate would have it, she was given a Sony Handycam 8mm video camera as a gift. As soon as she starting filming, “that was it: the device was like an extension of my hand. Now that my hand was the camera, shooting the process became the piece.” She began to make videos that dealt with the function, physicality, and transformation of every day objects.
Phyllis’s work is conceptually-based and often sparked by scientific information or philosophical ideas. The Gray Area Series (1993-1994) is a response to Fuzzy Logic, something being “what it is” and “what it is not” simultaneously; in the Unknown Series (excerpts) (1994-1996), unknown
objects are altered by unknown personas; Nano-cadabra (1998) presents manual abstractions sprouting from nanotechnology; Baldino-Neutrino (2003) is a response to the neutrino experiments from CERN to Gran Sasso Lab in Italy; Out of Focus EverythingSeries (2006-2010), is a multi-dimensional moving images piece about the Theory of Everything; in TraitFee (2012), personal information appears on your body if you do not pay your TraitFee.
Her recent work includes Nothing from the Future (2013-2016) processes physicist Lee Smolin’s experiments putting Time back into the equation of universal space. Another recent work, Now is Here (2017) is a diversion from physics, and instead studies body movements and the kinesthetics of the current political moment.
Phyllis’s website is at https://phyllisbaldino.com/