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PORTRAlrrSIN COMMON TIME Lynn Kirby, 2517 Polk St., San Francisco,CA 94109, U.S.A. In Portraits in Common Time (1991) (Fig. 3),a film and video and sound installation, the lives of three people are seen through a living-roomenvironment . Present in the livingroom are three framed film screensand three televisionsshowingfilm and video loops for each character. Interactivesound, light and furniture complete the different spaces: auditory, cinematic/video and the actuallivingroom. “Sittingin an enveloping easy chair or standing awkwardly as if we’djust been invited inside a stranger’shome, we experience a few revealing moments, none more important than another, in which one man and twowomen delivertheir modern day soliloquies”[13.The characters talk casually over the telephone of their lives and experiences,directed perhaps to each other, perhaps to an audience in the outsideworld. Fragments of conversation ,legs of couches, bits of plants are woven in a circularpattern. ‘The power of these charactersresides in the force of memory that allows each to create and then tell her or his own story, just as each has organized the very elements of her or his home by choosing and then arranging pieces of furniture .” Portraits in Common TimestarsPaula Alexander, Lewis Gannett and Mane Senkfor.The sound compositionis by Michael McNabb and is run on a NeXT computer activated by photo cells placed around the installation. Portraits in Common Timeuses the surface textual qualitiesofvideo and the deep spatial qualitiesof film to deconstruct the spatial attitudes of each medium aswell as fracture the spatial arrangement of the actuallivingroom installation.This play of space mirrors a play in time in the construction of the characters’narratives . As individualstories cycle around, they combine differentlywith the other characters’stones (all six loops have different running times).At times all charactersmay talk at once. At other times the room is silent. Sound, picked up from one of the characters’ environments,moves around the speakers in the room. The relationship of images and sounds and, thus, stories constantlyshifts. Each narrative is told as much with fragmentsof furniture as with fragmentsof speech and memory. An elderlywoman, a middle-agedwomFig . 3. Lynn Kirby, Portraitsin GnmnonTime, installation,Intersection for the Arts,SanFrancisco , CA,1991. The lives of threepeople areseen environments in this f i i , video and sound installation. throughtheirlivhgroom an and a young man live parallel lives. For moments their parallel histories intersect the circular time of memory as “today’sSunday is not so different from last week‘s.”The viewer is invited to reflect as “the intersection of three voices , three bodies and three rooms creates a milieu for the flourishingof one’s own contemplation.” Note 1. The quoted words are by Lynne Sachs, San Francisco Cinematheque. STAKEOUT AT POST OFFICEBAY MelyndaReid, P.O. Box 378, Greensboro, Florida 32330, U.S.A. E-mail: or I live and draw near the Apalachicola ’River,a place where the earth still breathes beneath its vesture of wild beauty. I have drawn rare flowershere for 20 years. Sixyears ago I was drawing Macbridea alba on national forest lands. This flower is so rare that its common name was invented by botanist Daniel B. Ward for the book he edited on the rare flora of Florida [I].Ward called this rare mint “whitebirds-in-a-nest.” His name evokes the essentialquality of this flower.The unopened buds resemble eggs in a basket of green. The unfurled flowershover like paired birds about to take flight above this nest. This flower is breathtaking to watch in a storm: in a high wind the flowersloft whole to the sky, retaining their pristine form even after falling to the ground. I noticed that the trees in this unique botanical paradise were marked for cutting . The actionsI took are described in this letter I wrote to the Subcommittee on Forests, Family Farms and Energy of the Committeeon Agriculture , U.S. House of Representatives,in December 1991: I am a local artist. I live in Sycamore, Florida. My friends and neighbors live tight on the land. I care deeply about all the creations of God, from the birds of the forest to the flowers of the fell to the children of loggers and mill operators. white-floweringmint in...


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