small dead woman/ Last SeenKevin Yates, Diana George and Charles Mudede
Lorna Brown, Artspeak, 2002
4.5" x 8.0" / 22 pp / 2 b&w images and 4 colour images.
(Untitled) small dead woman is the title of an exhibition by Kevin Yates which took place at Artspeak in the spring of 2002. Looking to apprehend the effects of films and photographs of 'tragedy' in sculptural form, Yates isolates the slain figure and models it in miniature in Untitled (small dead woman). Removing the setting, props, character and plot serves to eliminate any narrative possibility or specific mystery to solve, leaving only the tiny vulnerable object and our desire to examine it, which we must struggle to do, given its size. This tactic of decontextualization and rendering in three dimensions undermines the clinical detachment of film and photography and reconsiders the figure as 'flesh'. The sculpture is almost too small to scrutinize and confounds the expectation of knowing-through-seeing and visual pleasure that surrounds the history of the art gallery.
Last Seen, a collaborative text by Seattle writers Diana George and Charles Mudede, builds an analysis of 'public wilderness', locations of abandonment regulated into being, neither nature nor civilization, and that carry the signification of 'crime scenes waiting to happen'. One such public wilderness surrounds the SeaTac airport, a former subdivision that was emptied out in anticipation of airport expansion, a ghost town with no romantic history. This and other empty, unincorporated locales were overtaken for sport, trysts, gleaning and dumping, excursions into 'nature' - liberties that were interrupted by the periodic discovery of skeletal remains of many of the women last seen on the sex trade strip of Highway 99. Using devices of seriality and recurrance, their text presents these locations as de-commissioned and blank, spaces lapsed between the capital plan and the date of completion, holding the pause between missing and found.
For a review of the publication, see http://www.thestranger.com/current/books.html