Allison Berkoy/Art Review
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Pleasant Company Excepted:
Allison Berkoy’s Installation
Review by Barbara Rosenthal
Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center
596 Broadway, Suite 602
NY, NY 10012
Exhibition Dates: May 2 – 4, 2014
Enter a sparsely furnished parlor alone or with friends. Strangers may enter and leave around you, but one figure is certain to dominate the space, the conversation and all possibility of self-determination. You’re a good sport?! You try interacting on normal, polite, social terms, choosing your words carefully, but thwart thrust stab, you are under the spell of a character pinned as bas-relief, high on the wall. You are in the “company” of Allison Berkoy’s strikingly mummy-gauzed electronic female figure with animated video-projection face, directing you in no uncertain terms.
Allison Berkoy, with degrees in Theater from Northwestern, Performance from NYU and Electronic Arts from Rensselaer, creates original, personal, visceral hidden-high-tech installations which invite participation and self-reflection by viewers at galleries, stages and unusual spaces. Harvestworks, long a NY technological resource, presents works by artists alone or in collaboration with their in-house Technology, Engineering, Art and Music Lab (T.E.A.M.).
Keeping company with this personality-from-Hell, observing you through her hidden camera, reacting to your own body language and words, then speaking to you through her moving mouth, is a test of everything you hope will and will not be the upshot of meeting anyone. And thus Berkoy’s point is driven home: that when we are in anyone’s company, we are en garde, facing ego-piercing lances every minute. And the more personalities in the interaction, the more dangerous is the field.
About the reviewer:
Barbara Rosenthal is a New York artist and writer of existential themes. Four of her books have been published by Visual Studies Workshop Press.