October 22, 2004

Conciencia Artistica

Free at last

By Geneva Gamez

Thoughts run freely within but seldom do they let loose. However, from time to time there are those who like to challenge that, this is what you would have experienced at UCSD’s Marcuse Gallery last month. Working on a school (film) project, Davina Semo used the gallery space as a home for a month. She used this space to work, create, and explore different aspects of living as she produced her film about three women who are each trying to find their identity in their own peculiar way.

When you ask Davina what the exhibit is trying to say, Davina will give you a flirty smile, twirl her skirt and think about an answer that is perhaps best suitable for people to understand. However, going deeper than that, you will see that the emphasis isn’t on the characters that are being filmed; it’s really all about the artist living all these identities in her mind. She splits every aspect of her life into four rooms and allows the spectator into her most intimate thoughts.

The immediate entry to this home is very dark; the hall that leads into the dining room has a low ceiling and a narrow pathway. The dining room area consists of your typical four-chaired wooden table, but deviates from its dining purposes when the film projector and endless film take over its top. The projector is playing bits and pieces of the film in progress. A girl concerns over her weight as flashbacks of her childhood are played back. The rest of the room is pretty much empty. To the left there’s a room that screams identity search in process! In there you would find skinned raccoons, a table with bones, dead birds, a turtle shell, and a collection of bugs and insects. This is extremely symbolic of the search for identity and confusion she is facing with the many experiments in finding out the person she is. In here you will also find a small TV that records everything that’s going on in that room as well as the rest of the house, it gives it a Big Brother’s watching kind of feel.

One of Davina’s rooms

Right across from this room is the “pink” room. This is where the artist seems to spend more time, the bed is comfortable, the sheets are of animal print, the wardrobe a bit eclectic, and all is pretty much well, pink. This room also screams identity search. There are porn mags on the floor and around the bed, a dildo, and most symbolic to the theme, about half-dozen mannequin heads with different colored wigs –as if to feel comfort in being different each day.

The third room is pure business. This is where the TV, the books, lights, cameras, and books are. Could this be the only side we see? Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that this exhibition was an intimate invitation to Davina’s head. It’s not only admiring for an artist to share their work with us, but even more so, when they take us a step further and into their lives.

Davina continues to work on the film, a project that expects to enlighten the audience about the extreme crisis people in America are experiencing, and that is the lack of identity.

Davina Semo can be reached by e-mail at dsemo@ucsd.edu

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