BRIC presents Jonathan González: ‘The Smallest Unit Is Each Other’
González (they/them) juxtaposes original video content alongside archival ephemera, creating a graphic, impressionistic effect. The artist believes that storytelling is not just what makes us human, it is also a radical form of reshaping colonial perceptions of the environment; to retell what is biologically understood and explore these new narrative possibilities. The title, The Smallest Unit Is Each Other, is both a message and an invitation to consider the smallest unit is not the individual but the community as we require each other for survival. This concept is engrained through organizing the various elements within the installation, which Gonzáles refers to as sides. For González, each piece–the video sides, the chair, the console pad–together create a larger narrative. Each side is choreographed in relationship to the other. How one interacts with the different sides is based on their own choosing.
Each side, or object within the space is created with disability aesthetics in mind, and is designed to allow access and comfort to a wide range of abilities. The projected video (Side A-F) is controlled by the visitor through a pad on the floor designed by Gil Sperling, allowing them to play with and randomize each side. Each section of the video presents information on topics such as climate catastrophe, colonialism, and aquaponics in various genres of video and sound ranging from ambient noise and 3D graphics to playful animations to documentary. In front is a custom-made chair with a pillow featuring text “Words made flesh muscle and bone animated by hope and desire.” (Sylvia Wynter) specialty designed by Shannon Finnegan to ensure comfort and support. To the side of the chair is a touchable topographical model made by Rudy Gerson, of Cockpit Country, Jamaica, home to a maroon colony. The different sides of the exhibition, and their collaboration with other artists, can be described as “archipelagic” — the smaller pieces are to be considered in relation to one another, rather than as discrete entities.