This week we are delighted to present the Director’s Cut of Centinel, a new version of the video by Jasper Spicero that was commissioned on the occasion of Spicero’s 2019 exhibition at SI.
In an online trance music forum, Jasper Spicero discovered a collection of music and poetry that was made by a school friend who passed away in 2009. This serves as the starting point for Centinel. The military associations with the friend’s username, DJ Sentinel, as well as themes of addiction, recovery and family trauma, inspired the artist to create a surreal soap-operatic narrative video work. In the pastoral surroundings of Marydell Faith and Life Center in Nyack, NY, characters dressed in American Civil War era dress play scenes of surreal and ambiguous family conflict. Arguing over the installation of a new security system, the characters attempt to free themselves and each other from re-enacting cycles of the past, as they move between moments of melodrama, dread and velveteen sadness. The narrative is interspersed with footage of a handbell ensemble at Visions at Selis Manor, a center for the blind in Manhattan, who perform using vibrating wristbands programmed to a score. They are accompanied by “angels” who appear to communicate between the two settings using glowing flip phones.
Still from Jasper Spicero, Centinel, 2019. Digital video, 37:09.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Special support is provided by Council Member Carlina Rivera.